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°2 , 


Nonconformist eMwrcf) JWusic 


Organist and Choirmaster of St. John's Wood Presbyterian Church, Londoh 

Formerly Organist and Choirmaster of Surrey Chapel, Blackfriars, and 

(its perpetuation) Christ Church, Westminster lload, London. 

Associate of the Philharmonic Society. 

!IonDon : 

Price Three Shillings and Sixpence. 

" Quantum flevi in hymnis et canticis tuis, suave sonantis ecclesiae 
tuae vocibus commotus acriter ! Voces illae influebant auribus meis, 
et eliquabatur Veritas tua in cor meuro, et exaestuabat inde adfeetus 
pietatis ; et currebant lacryraae, et bene mihi erat cum eis." 

[ " How did I weep, in thy Hymns aad Canticles, touched to the 
quick by the voices of Thy sweet-attuned Church ! The voices flowed 
into mine ears, and the Truth distilled into my heart, whence the 
affections of my devotion overflowed, and tears ran down, and happy 
was I therein." ] 

St. Augustine, 354-430. 

" Sondern ich wollt alle Kiinste, sonderlich die Musica, gem sehen 
in Dienst des der sie geben und geschaffen hat." 

["/ would gladly see all the arts, especially Music, serving Him 
who has given them and made them what they be" ] 

Martin Ldtheb, 14S. ,1 >-1546. 

• Music is a sacred, a divine, a God-like thing, and was given to 

man by Christ, to lift up our souls to God, and to make us feel 

something of the glory and beauty of God, and of all that God ha< 


Charles Kingsley, L819-1875. 


This is a practical age. Mere theorising in these 
latter years of the nineteenth century availeth little. 
Therefore, this book aims at being practical rather 
than theoretical. 

In order to increase its practicability, to extend 
its usefulness, and, at the same time, to give it 
distinctive value, it was thought desirable that 
instead of stating only the views of one individual, 
it should record the opinions and experiences of 
several workers in the subject of which it treats. 

To this end a schedule of about forty questions 
(given on p. ix) was addressed to the organists and 
choirmasters of representative churches in the follow- 
ing denominations : Baptist, Congregational, Pres- 
byterian, Unitarian, United Methodist Free Church, 
and Wesleyan Methodist, in England and Wales ; 
and the Church of Scotland, Free Church, and 
United Presbyterian Church, in Scotland. 

Answers were received from 226 churches. These 
replies have been summarised and largely quoted 
from. In making the selection I have chosen those 
that appear to me likely to be most useful, or that 



possess the charm of novelty. I have endeavoured to 
be strictly impartial in the choice — indeed, often 
quoting an opinion which is directly opposite to my 
own. I regret that the exigencies of space and 
tautology have prevented me from making a more 
extended use of the communications of my 
correspondents. Many of them write with a joyous 
enthusiasm worthy of all emulation. 

My best thanks are gratefully tendered to these my 
brother and sister organists, choirmasters, and choir- 
mistresses for the trouble and pains they have taken 
in answering the long list of queries, and which, in 
many instances, have been answered so wisely and 
so well. 

To the quoted opinions — which constitute a very 
valuable part of the book — I have added original 
matter in which I have endeavoured to incorporate 
my fifteen years' practical experience as an organist 
and choirmaster of Nonconformist churches, and also 
the results of a careful study of, and wide reading in 
the subject. I have not hesitated to point out existing 
faults, and to show, what, in my opinion, arc then most 
effectual remedies ; also to suggest the best mode 
of procedure for promoting efficiency in all that 
appertains to the Service of Song. 

I am a thorough believer in the value of culture, 
and I hold that its proper introduction into the 
musical part of the service will not detract from the 
devotional spirit, any more than the high intellectual 


status which almost all the churches consider neces- 
sary for the ministerial office, will destroy earnest 
piety or quench " living fire " in the " company of 
the preachers." The study of music in this countiy 
as an art — instead of a schoolgirl's so-called "accom- 
plishment" — is a feature of the times. Therefore, it 
seems to me that it is highly inexpedient to divest 
our church music of its artistic garb and allow it to 
enter into the gates of Grod's house clad in the 
" filthy rags " of slovenliness and inefficiency. " I 
would gladly see all the arts, especially music, 
serving Him who has given them and made them 
what they be," said Martin Luther more than three 
hundred years ago. This utterance of the great 
Reformer is a complete answer to those who, even 
in this enlightened age, insinuate that the infusion of 
art into worship must of necessity make it heartless. 

I have to acknowledge the kind help of my friend 
Mr. J. Spencer Curwen, to whose suggestion the plan 
of issuing a paper of questions is due, and who lias 
read the MS. and offered some valuable hints. 

My thanks are also tendered to Dr. J. F. Bridge, 
Mr. Hugh McNabb, Mr. W. Gh McNaught, Mr. 
Fountain Meen, Dr. W. H. Monk, Dr. A. L. Peace, 
Mr. Ebenezer Prout, Dr. Stainer, and Mr. W. C. 
Stockley for their respective opinions on "the 
position of the organ and choir"; to Mr. H. 
Sawyer, Mr. Edwin Speight, and Mr. H. A. 
Walters for then valuable letters on the subject of 
" Associations of Choirs " ; to Messrs. Forster and 


Andrews, organ builders, of Hull, for their communi- 
cation relating to the organ position, and especially 
to Mr. T. C. Lewis, the well-known organ builder of 
Brixton, who has kindly had the plans of organ and 
choir positions drawn specially for this work, and 
who has also given me some useful information upon 
organ matters ; and to the Eev. W. Pulling for 
the interesting statistics relating to the sale of 
" Hymns Ancient and Modern." 

In conclusion, I make no pretensions to literary 
excellence in the following pages. The constant 
claims of a busy practice have left me little leisure for 
any flights in that direction, even if I had the ability. 
But I have made an earnest attempt to deal practi- 
cally with a subject which has been too long neglected, 
but which, in this musically-educated age, is rapidly 
becoming an important element in our devotional 

I now send forth this little book conscious of its 
imperfections and shortcomings, but with the fervent 
hope that it may supply a need, that those who 
peruse its pages may find some hint that will prove 
of value to them in improving and beautifying the 
music of the sanctuary, and that thereby it may tend 
to promote the Praise and Gtlory of Goo. 

F. G. E. 
Canfield Gardens, 

London, K W. 

May, 1887. 


1. What is the size of your choir, and the number of 
voices in each part ? 

2. Does it contain boys or ladies, or both ? 

3. Do you keep a register of attendance at services and 
practices ? 

4. Is a test of music reading imposed on members ? 

o. Are there any other points of choir organization which 
you find of value ? 

6. Are any members of the choir paid ? 

7. In what part of the church are the choir and organ 
placed ? 

8. Which do you consider the best place for the choir and 
the organ ? 

9. Is the office of choirmaster combined with that of 
organist '" 

10. Does the choir hold a weekly practice ? 

11. In rehearsing the choir do you, as a rule, have 
instrumental accompaniment ; if so, what instrument do 
you use ? 

12. Do the choir practise secular music, and sacred music 
other than the service music ? 

13. Have you a Choral Society or Psalmody Association in 
connection with your church ; if so, do its meetings interfere 
with, or supersede, the ordinary choir practices ? 

14. Do you succeed in infusing much expression into the 
singing of hymns ? 

15. Is your prose chanting fairly well done ? 

16. Do you sing the canticles, Te Deum, &c, to services 
or chants ; if so, please name a few of the settings ? 

17. Do you use anthems; if so, are they sung by the 
choir or by the congregation and choir ? 

18. Do you use choral responses or suffrages ? 

1^. Are organ recitals or concerts ever given in the 
church ? If so, is the music sacred only or is secular music 
of a good class admitted ? 

20. Is admission free at these recitals or concerts ? 

21. Will you kindly enclose programmes of recitals and 
concerts recently given in the church ? 

22. Have you had any specially musical services, at which 
singing, reading, and preaching are intermingled as parts of 
a whole ? 

23. Have you ever combined with other church choirs in 
your neighbourhood, or town, lor a praise demonstation 


after the manner of the Diocesan Choral Festivals in the 
Established Church ? Do you think such services would be 
productive of good in promoting congregational psalmody, 
and in awakening interest in it ? 

24. Have you had orchestral accompaniments at any of 
your services or concerts in the church ? 

25. Have solos ever been sung at the ordinary Sunday 
services ? 

26. Is a children's hymn ever introduced in the ordinary 
services ? 

27. Have you tried antiphonal singing of the hymns, men 
alternating verse by verse with women, children with adults, 
choir with congregation, &c. ? 

28. Is the singing of your congregation satisfactory ? If 
not, does it lack quantity or quality ? 

29. Eoughly speaking, what proportion of the congrega- 
tion use tune-books ? 

30. Have you a congregational practice ? 

31. Are you troubled with flattening and dragging? If 
so, have you formed any opinion as to their causes ? 

32. Have you a hymn and tune-book in one ? 

33. Do you invariably keep the hymn to the same 
tune ? 

34. Do you think the fixed-tune system (as in " Hymns 
Ancient and Modern " ) desirable ; or do you prefer to have a 
separate tune-book ? 

35. Are the hymns and tunes, fixed for each month, 
printed and circulated among the congregation ? Do you 
think such a plan desirable ? 

36. Have you tried dispersing part of the choir among 
the congregation, or having several choirs take turns, month 
by month, to sit in the choir seats ? 

37. Is the minister interested in the music of the 
service ? 

38. What style of hymn-tunes do you find best for 
congregational purposes ? Do you ever use the Moody and 
Sankey pieces ? 


Organist or Choirmaster of. Church. 


* * Answers to the above questions will be treated as confidential, 
and the name of the correspondent will not be placed against his 
quoted opinions. 


CHAPTER I. pages. 

The Minister 1-1) 

The Organist. The Choirmaster 10-19 

Choir Organisation and Management 20-39 

The Choir Practice 40-52 


Congregational Hymn Singing 53-86 


Chanting 87-108 

Anthems, Solos, Services (Te Deum, &c), and Responses 109-130 

Organ Recitals, Concerts, Special Musical Services, Orchestral 

Accompaniments, and Choral Festivals ... 131-160 


The Organ, and its position 161-187 

Organ Voluntaries 188-194 

Organ Accompaniments ... ... ... ... ... 195-233 



TnE Minister of a Church, being the recognised leader of 
the congregation, holds a very important and responsible 
position. His interest is, or should be, manifested in 
everything that can tend to edify those over whom he 
ministers. Therefore, it is only right that he should have 
precedence in the consideration of the all-important subject 
of Worship ]\Iusic, and the rendering thereof. 

The question u Is the Minister interested in the music 
of the service ? " received 182 definite answers. "No," 13 ; 
"Fairly," or "Not very much," 30; "Yes," 139— of 
these 37 are qualified with "very much." Four ministers 
are their own choirmasters. 

Subjoined are some of the replies. 

' ' Yes ; and I wish ministers would more generally realize 
that the praise of God is as much a part of the service as the 

"An enthusiast, and everything that could be desired. 
Always encouraging, but never interfering or dictating. Let 
me name him with reverence and honour." [Here follows 
the name]. 

" Yes, and so is his wife." 

" Not particularly so. As a rule, the ministers confess that 
a good service of song helps them much." 


" He frequently attends the choir practice, which is a 

1 ' Very much interested. He is very particular to have the 
hymns, &c, done well." 

" Very much ; but he wisely leaves everything, except the 
selection of the hymns, to the organist." 

"Yes. He very often comes to our rehearsals, and the 
choir appreciate it, as it shows he takes an interest in our 
part of the service." 

" Yes ; but not to its benefit." (!) 

' ' Yes ; and would the officers of the church but support us 
we could raise a good service." 

" Yes ; and so are the deacons." 

" Our minister says he is very much affected by the way 
the hymns are sung. If well, he is helped ; if heavily, or 
dragged, or half-hearted, he is depressed." 

" Extremely so, though without knowledge of music. He 
considers it a great joy and assistance." 

" Yes. He has often told the choir, and several times the 
congregation, how much ' the beautiful singing of the choir ' 
helps him. What more can we wish for ? It is our sweetest 

' ' Never knew of such a phenomenon [as a minister 
interested in the music of the service] in twenty-five years' 

' ' Very much. Our minister, though unable to sing, does 
his utmost to cultivate good music, and attends most of our 

" Yes. He does all he can to help us." 

" Yes. I am glad to say he is. Although no musician he 
is glad to co-operate in any reasonable way." 

' ' All our ministers at have been interested in the 

musical part of the sendee. I think this most desirable and 
beneficial for choir, organist, and people." 

" I aim at making the music a powerful aid in deepening 
religious impressions and emotion." [This from a minister]. 

" Very much; which adds greatly to the efficiency and 
good feeling which belongs to our choir." 

" Our minister takes great interest in the music generally, 
and is always on the alert for those in the congregation who 
would be able to assist in the choir." 

" Very much so. And unless the ministers generally take 
an interest in the praise, there is little hope of improvement, 
especially in Presbyterian churches." 

" Yes. He is President of our Musical Association, and 
appears always at the opening and close of the season, and 
drops in occasionally to the practisings." 


" I choose both words and tunes. The minister gives me 
the subjects of his sermons for about a month." 

" Our ministers, as a rule, are musical, it being part of 
their education." (!) 

" Ministers, by good judgment allied with musical taste, 
can do more than others in keeping up the efficiency and 
usefulness of a choir. Personally I have always had any 
desired help from ministers." 

" Very much so. His interest in our work and sympathy 
with our efforts have been in no small degree the means of 
helping on the great improvement which has taken place in 
our psalmody during the last three years. Being himself a 
thorough musician he has always known how to give us the 
most effective help, and how to meet our difficulties." 

"He takes great interest and delight in it. "We have, 
however, a special system, continued, at his desire, from the 
time when we had no settled minister, and adopted then at 
the request of the managers; viz., the choirmaster chooses 
all the hymns as well as tunes for all services, with the 
exception of the hymn after the sermon, which the minister 
selects. With perfect sympathy between minister and choir- 
master this is admitted to work admirably." 

" When the membership [of the choir] decreases, or the 
attendance is irregular, he gives the members and adherents 
of the congregation a word from the pulpit, telling them that 
it is their duty to support the choir. ... I think in a few 
years ministers will take more interest, because last year at 
Edinburgh University a very wise plan was adopted, that of 
giving Theological students instruction in singing ; and it is 
my experience that when ministers are singers themselves 
they give more singable hymns, and take more interest in 
the choir." 

" Is the Minister interested in the music of the service ? " 
This question might appear to some to be a superfluous 
one, in that it is capable of receiving only one answer, and 
that, " Of course he must be interested in the musical part 
of the service." Interest, however, may be of two kinds, 
active and passive. To show a real interest in any cause 
is to give evidence of it in some practical way. It is 
almost impossible to over-estimate the results that may 
follow when the minister shows a lively personal enthusiasm 
in the service music. It is to the welfare of both church 
and minister that the service of praise should be done 
decently and in order. To show how the minister's 


practical interest may best be exercised, I shall add to the 
above quotations a few suggestions which may prove 

First, in regard to the Congregation. The minister has 
exceptional opportunities of bringing before his people 
their duties in connection with the service of praise, both 
from the pulpit and in pastoral visitation. Considering 
that praise and thanksgiving are as important as prayer 
and supplication, it is strange that the number of sermons 
on prayer, its efficacy and necessity, should far outnumber 
those on praise. There still remains a tendency to look 
upon the singing as a mere preliminary and adjunct to the 
sermon. Ministers are sometimes apt to forget that the 
singing, at least in Dissenting Churches, is almost the only 
part of the service in which the congregation audibly join. 
They are led in prayer, read to, and preached to. To most 
of the worshippers, as it ought to be to all, the singing is 
a delightful uplifting exercise, for it embodies the essence 
of true worship ; and the better it is done — not by a few, 
but by all — the more worshipful will the worshippers 
become. The minister, then, should not hesitate, even 
with the fear of displeasing some unfortunate office-bearer 
who may have no music in his soul, to remind his con- 
gregation of their responsibilities in this matter, and to 
rouse them to greater zeal in the service of praise. If 
the same amount of energy could be infused into an appeal 
to get better singing as into a discourse on the duties of 
almsgiving, especially when the funds are low, so much 
the better for the singing. The fact is, people are often 
indifferent and apathetic, and need stirring up in this as 
in other things. The minister need not be what is called 
" musical" to do this, any more than he need be a clever 
financier to show that when the coffers are nearly empty 
they need replenishing. The minister who fearlessly 
speaks out on the importance of his congregation's doing 
all they can to sing with the heart and with the 
understanding, will be doing a very good thing, and he 


and they will reap a rich reward in an increased congre- 
gation, and a spirit of more fervent devotion and more 
worshipful earnestness pervading it. 

The minister should show practical interest in the work 
of the Choir. Some ministers have so many claims upon 
their time that they are unable to pay even an occasional 
visit of a few minutes to the choir practice. This is a 
mistake. The choir, as I shall endeavour to show 
elsewhere, ought to be impressed with the importance of 
their position as leaders of the congregational song. The 
presence of the minister for a short time at the choir 
practice — at least three or four times a year — would not 
only be appreciated by the choir and their leader, but it 
would encourage them in their work ; and while helping 
them to realize their responsibilities would show them 
that the minister's interest in them is an active and not 
a passive one. 

The minister should endeavour to know the members of 
his choir. Nothing is more helpful in this way than an 
annual social gathering of minister and choir at which the 
presence of some of the office-bearers might be desirable. 
If such a meeting can take place at the minister's house, 
where the choir could feel they were welcomed as friends 
and fellow helpers, so much the better. It is not necessary 
to provide a grand entertainment or to make a display. A 
friendly chat over a cup of tea animates a good feeling, 
and a genial hospitality allied with a kind interest in all 
that concerns the choir will be productive of much benefit. 
If it be necessary to make any remarks on such an 
occasion, it will be well to avoid a formal address, as 
however carefully it may be worded, and however good 
the motive, it is liable to be construed into a lecture, 
and this is objectionable at a private social gathering. 
One of the most successfully organised choirs that I know 
in London have very pleasant recollections of their annual 
visits to the house of their minister. The evenings were 


spent in mnsic, readings, conversation, &c., and these 
delightful re-unions always terminated with the singing 
of a hymn and prayer. Such practical interest stimulated 
an esprit de corps amongst the members of the choir, and 
they always felt they had the warm sympathy and active 
interest of their minister. The example of this London 
minister might well be followed by his ministerial 

The selection of hymns, &c, is a duty which devolves 
upon the minister. No one will deny its importance. One 
of my correspondents — the son of a well-known minister 
— has well said, " I wish ministers would more generally 
realize that the praise of God is as much a part of the 
service as the preaching." Here lies the pith of the 
whole matter. Some ministers, if they do not neglect 
this part of the service, seem to show very little earnest- 
ness or interest in it. Hymns are chosen without much 
regard to their singableness from a musical point of view ; 
or they may run too much in the same groove, all Long 
Metres, or all Common Metres, for one service, and so on. 
There should be variety, as well as appropriateness, in the 
selection. Generally speaking there should be at least one 
bright taking hymn in each service, one that has some 
amount of " go " in it. It should be borne in mind that 
the fatigue consequent on standing to sing a long hymn, 
especially to a slow tune, is apt to nullify all the mental 
and spiritual good which ought to be derived from it. In 
such a case, rather than omit any verses, the hymn might 
be divided with a few verses of scripture, or a prayer, 
bearing upon the subject of the hymn. Great care is 
needed in the choice of hymns — in fact, as much thought 
should be expended on this as on the selection of scripture 
lessons ; and yet how frequently it is put, as it were, into 
a corner. I have heard of a minister who announced the 
hymn " Brightest and best of the sons of the morning," 
adding "We will sing the first and last verses only," 
consequently the congregation had to sing the same 


words twice over, as the initial and final verses are identical, 
which showed how little the hymn had been studied, or 
even read through beforehand. Of course this is an 
extreme case, but it shows the importance of careful 
preparation for the praise part of the service. How much 
may be gained and alas ! how much may be lost by 
nurturing or neglecting it. as the case may be. 

The minister should always supply his music-leader* 1 
with a list of the hymns, &c, for the Sunday services in 
time for the preceding choir practice. This is only 
fair. If the subject of the sermon has not been decided 
upon, then all the hymns except the hymn after the sermon 
should be given. When hymns have to be searched for a 
few minutes before the service commences, and when 
there is no time to select appropriate tunes, how can it 
be expected that the service of song will be satisfactory ? 
Some of my correspondents have just cause to complain 
bitterly of this wretched arrangement. The whole service 
should be all arranged and prepared beforehand, and not 
left to the flurry and distractions of the last minute. 
Nothing is more likely to unnerve or dishearten an organist 
than this procrastination. A minister who really values 
the help of his music-leader and choir will not do this. 
However, it is done; but the remedy is a very simple one, 
and should be applied without delay. 

The relations between the minister and his music-leader 
should be one of mutual fellowship and confidence. Each 
should regard the other as a friend and fellow-worker in 
the same good cause. The minister leads the prayers, 
the music-leader leads the praises and those prayers that 
are sung. If the minister has occasion to criticise the 
music he should be very careful to put his criticisms in 
the form of friendly suggestions. Criticism, offered with 
the best intention, is likely to be construed into fault- 

* Throughout this chapter, the term music-leader is used in reference to the 
responsible person in the music department, whether he be organist or choir- 
master, or the holder of the combined office. 


finding, and the results may be disastrous in many ways. 
Enthusiastic young organists, and possibly some older 
ones, will resent it as interference, and will kick against 
it ; and if they be too thin-skinned it is very possible their 
enthusiasm will be chilled, and their work become half- 
hearted and listless to a painful degree. Organists and 
choirmasters are likely to be sadly discouraged by the 
unguarded censorship of ministers, and more often of 
musically-ignorant office-bearers. Yet it must not be 
supposed that all music-leaders are faultless, as, after all, 
they are only human beings. But they have feelings — 
often very sensitive ones — and any suggestions which the 
minister feels it his duty to make, should be offered 
tenderly and in a friendly spirit, so that the music-leader 
may feel he is receiving the counsel of one who is anxious 
to help and encourage him in his important work. That 
precious quality, tact, is an essential element in this 

Finally : The minister who is really interested in the 
music of the service, and is desirous of making it a real 
power, has doubtless adopted the above suggestions in 
addition to others, and with excellent results. I earnestly 
ask those who have not done so to give some, or all, of 
them a fair trial, and I feel sure they will not regret 
having made the experiment. 

To Deacons, Eldees, and Office-beaeees. 
Do not discourage your music-leader and choir, or in any 
way depreciate their services. Extend to them your warmest 
sympathy, make them conscious of your deep interest in 
their work, and help them as much as you possibly can. 
"When necessary cheerfully grant them a small sum of 
money for the purchase of music to make their practices 
interesting. The music question occupies no mean 
position in Nonconformist churches to-day. It is rapidly 
developing, and is being recognised as a great power for 
good. In this age of progress we cannot go back to the 


standard of thirty years ago. Unless your minister is a 
Spurgeon or a Dale, you may find it necessary to have 
good and attractive singing. If the music, vocal and 
instrumental, is carefully and reverently done, it will 
help to fill your church and thus gladden your minister's 
heart as well as your own. 

* Kindly remember that your music-leader is only a human 
being, and therefore that he cannot please everyone at 
the same time. Should you at any time fail to be satisfied 
with musical fatness, endeavour to console yourself with 
the thought that Mr. So-and-so in yonder pew is being 
" lifted up." Do not give vent to your feelings in the 
vestry after the service by discharging anathemas upon 
the doings of your poor, unfortunate organist. Be 
charitable, and credit him with the best — though from 
your point of view, mistaken — intentions. Bather with- 
hold your critical functions and wait patiently ; fortified 
by the hope that before long, you — even by the aid of 
those human hands and voices — will be transported beyond 
" Earth's green fields and ocean's wave-beat shores," and, 
through the divine art of music, will enjoy a sweet fore- 
taste " of that new life when sin shall be no more." 




The organist of any church should be a properly qualified 
person. In fact, he should be a musician first and an 
organ-player afterwards. The office of organist is one far 
too exalted to be trifled with. Every aspirant to 
it, and every holder of it, should do all in his power to 
make himself more efficient for its important duties and 

The most essential qualification for this office, in 
churches where the singing is mostly congregational, is 
the knowledge of the art of accompaniment. A man who 
can play Bach's fugues faultlessly, but who takes little or 
no interest in " grinding out" — as he would call it — a 
simple hymn-tune is out of place as organist of a 
congregational-singing church. Organ teachers too often 
neglect the tuition of accompaniments to their pupils. 
This by no means easy branch of organ playing, is 
supposed to be picked up and obtained by that hard task- 
master-experience. If some of the time devoted to the 
study of elaborate organ pieces were to be judiciously 
bestowed on accompaniments to congregational and choir 


singing, it would be a good thing for all young 

The next essential qualification is a knowledge of 
harmony. An organist is a poor tool who is not equipped 
with this invaluable acquirement. He cannot possibly 
11 fill in " his chords properly unless he has gone through 
a regular course of theory study. The fearful thickness 
of some bass chords, especially when the "doubles" are 
drawn, which sometimes grate on sensitive ears, can only 
be attributable to sheer ignorance of the nature and 
construction of chords. In all organist competitions the 
knowledge of harmony should be a sine qua non. I know 
of a case in which a minister was very anxious to get 
a friend into the vacant organistship of his church. The 
church committee engaged one of our best-known organists 
to advise them in their choice. One very proper question 
he put to the minister's friend was, " Have you a know- 
ledge of harmony ? " The negative reply was duly 
reported to the committee, when one of them said, 
" Perhaps he could learn harmony." (!) However, the 
minister's influence was strong enough to secure the 
appointment of his harmonyless friend. Here was an im- 
portant church with an unqualified organist, and only 
one result could_be expected from such proceedings. 

This leads to the consideration of the question, How 
are organists appointed ? 

In some instances a member of the congregation has a 
friend, or relative, who, if elected, would fulfil the duties 
with conspicuous ability — just the man for the post. 
Should the friend not get the appointment, then offence 
is probably taken because so desirable a candidate was 
passed over for some one so very inferior. The friends of 
the rejected one may either leave the church, or, for a time 
at least, set to work to make it unpleasant for the new comer. 

Another way is to advertise in the musical, sometimes 
the daily, papers. The result, in either case, will be a 


deluge of letters from " all sorts and conditions " of 
organists. No wonder that the deacons or committee are 
bewildered. Happy are they if amongst so many 
treasures they secure a gem of the first water. 

Sometimes a professional organist of repute is called in 
to assist and advise the committee of selection in their 
choice. This may, or may not, help them to secure the 
right man. If the merits of solo organ-playing are to 
decide the competition the results may be disastrous to the 
development of the congregational song ; for ability in 
accompanying and the knowledge of harmony — apart 
from the indispensable qualification of choir-training when 
the office of organist and choirmaster is combined — are of 
far greater importance than the masterly rendering of a 
voluntary. A case in illustration has recently come under 
my notice in connection with the vacant organistship of a 
congregational church. The judge, an eminent cathedral 
organist — one who cannot be supposed to have much 
sympathy with congregational singing — recommended the 
"best player" of the many who competed; and, the 
result of his choice, I am told, has not been altogether 
satisfactory. The question of interest in the service 
music and proficiency in accompaniments was of secondary 
importance, if considered at all, and the congregation 
have not obtained all they hoped for and desired. 

Without altogether condemning both of these methods, 
it has often occurred to me why should not the organist 
be selected on the ministerial plan. In the case of a 
vacancy, why not invite a known organist of some other 
church to play for a Sunday or two ; a small representative 
committee, of the congregation having previously heard 
him at his own church. The congregation might then 
have an opportunity of judging his capabilities at their 
church, and the decision could be taken accordingly. No 
church would think of actually advertising for a minister. 
The usual plan is to endeavour to find out what he has 


been doing in his former charges, and then invite him to 
preach. But it would not be surprising to find amongst 
the newspaper advertisements for cooks and parlour-maids 
— " organist wanted." In any case it is most desirable — 
after making sure that the qualifications of harmony and 
general musicianship are present — that the candidate 
should play the services for a Sunday or two. In all 
probability the true feelings and devotion of the man will 
manifest themselves in his accompaniments, and the 
congregation will quickly discern if he has real sympathy 
and interest in leading their praises. 

The office of organist is such an important one, exerting 
as it does such a strong influence upon the devotions of 
the congregation, that it should be filled up with due 
deliberation, and with the greatest possible care. 

The question of salary is a somewhat difficult one to 
advise upon. There need be no apology for defending the 
payment of organists and choirmasters. So long as the 
minister is paid for his services there is no reason why the 
organist should not receive remuneration. A clever 
organist, like a clever preacher, will naturally expect and 
deserve a good salary. Generally speaking, and looking 
at the question from a business point of view, it is best in 
the long run to get an able minister, and remunerate him 
according to his deserts ; likewise with the organist. 

I think a fair salary for the organist and choirmaster 
would be one tenth of the minister's stipend. When 
the offices are held by separate persons, some arrangement 
must be made for the division of the amount suggested. 

The question as to who should have control over the 
use of the organ is one that sometimes arises. The organ 
legally belongs to the trustees or owners of the church or 
chapel, and as it is their property, they have a perfect 
right to allow anyone to use it any time. But courtesy 
usually gives place to law in this connection. The 


customary etiquette is that the organist is the custodian 
of the organ, and that while he holds office the instrument 
is nominally his. Therefore, if the office bearers are 
asked permission for the use of the organ for practice or 
special purpose, they should refer such application to the 
organist, and his decision, as the responsible custodian of 
the organ, should be respected and upheld. When a 
minister, other than the regular one, desires to preach, 
the consent of the ordinary occupant of the pulpit will 
naturally be first obtained. The organ and the pulpit 
bear equal relations in this matter. It is generally 
accepted that the organist has the right to use the organ 
for the tuition and practice of his pupils at reasonable 
hours. Such is the custom, but it is well that some 
definite understanding should be arrived at between the 
office-bearers and organist. 

Finally, the service of praise conducted carefully and with 
devotional feeling will attract people to church, and help 
to fill empty pews, should there be any unoccupied. To 
quote a ministerial friend, " Good preaching and good 
music will fill the church." Musical culture is very 
different now from what it was a generation ago. The 
musical faculties of the people are much more developed, 
their musical knowledge is wider, consequently their 
musical criticism is often severe. It stands to reason that 
when they go to church they like to listen to and join in 
music that is carefully and artistically done. Music is an 
art. It is in its noblest and purest sphere when used in 
the praise of Him who is " the Giver of every good and 
perfect gift." In the Giver's own house, having regard 
to the capabilities of the worshippers, it should be the 
best, the sincerest, the most beautiful we can offer. 

To sum up. Every would-be organist, in order to 
become thoroughly efficient, should undergo a course of 
training to qualify him for his office. Organ playing, 
the art of accompaniment, and a knowledge of harinony 


are the three cardinal requisites. To these may be added 
orchestration, study of the works of the great masters, 
wide and varied musical reading, and, indeed, everything 
that will help him to become a cultured and thorough 

The Choirmaster. 

The choirmaster is, of course, chiefly concerned in 
promoting efficiency in the vocal music. The training of 
the choir naturally falls to his duty. He will conduct the 
choir practice, at which the organist — when the offices of 
organist and choirmaster are separate — should at all times 
be present to accompany when necessary. 

AVhen the offices of organist and choirmaster are held 
by separate persons, the choirmaster should have the 
full control of the musical service (except the organ 
voluntaries) and be commander-in-chief of the musical 
forces. The choirmaster's position is similar to that of 
the conductor of an orchestra and chorus — the organ 
representing the band, and the choir the chorus. In all 
musical performances in which numbers take part, there 
must be one head upon whom the entire responsibility 
should rest, and whose ruling must be decisive and final. 

The choirmaster should possess a knowledge of the 
different vocal registers and their proper uses. He should 
have a correct ear, and be able to pattern the effects he 
wishes to be realised. It is not absolutely necessary that 
he should have a good voice. But he should have the 
aptitude to teach others to sing. He will need a good 
stock of patience and tact to become successful. The 
more painstaking and exact he is, the more the choir will 
appreciate and follow him. The combination of the 
suaviter in modo with the fort iter in re is most desirable in 
a good choirmaster. 

The choirmaster should not lead the choir by singing in 
advance of them at the services. If possible, it will be 
well for him to occasionally occupy a seat amongst the 


congregation, so that lie may have an opportunity of 
hearing the choir at a distance, and of judging of the effect 
in the body of the church. 

It is absolutely necessary that there should be perfect 
unanimity of action between choirmaster and organist. 
The relations between the two (when the offices 
are separated) are sometimes delicate. Any difference of 
opinion should be adjusted privately, and not in the 
presence of the choir. The slightest disunity or 
antagonism may be productive of much harm to the choir 
and to the music of the church. There should be perfect 
unison in their respective actions, and yet concordant 
harmony in their separate relations to each other. 

The combined office of Organist and Choirmaster. 

To the question " Is the office of choirmaster combined with 
that of organist?''' 78 reply "No;" 119 " Yes ; " 23 
reply " No organ;" of these 19 are in Scotland. 

Here are some of the replies : — 

" Yes : and should never be severed. If an organist is 
not qualified to act as choirmaster and train the choir, then 
the sooner he vacates his post the better. No organist of 
ability would be dictated to by a choirmaster. He would 
simply be a machine to play, when, how, and what he was 
told by the choirmaster." 

" No ; and I am strongly of opinion that where you can 
have organist and choirmaster to work agreeably the offices 
are much better separate." [Organist]. 

"No; but we work in co-operation." [Choirmaster]. 

" Yes. I think it is best when possible. The choir know 
whom to look to for orders, also work much more har- 
mon iously." 

"sUnfortunately, yes. Each office should have a separate 
per'on." [Organist and choirmaster]. 

' No. The minister of the church is an enthusiastic lover 
of music and a fair musician, and he holds the office of 

"No. They are best kept separate, and I say so from 
very long experience." [Choirmaster]. 

" No ; I wish it was." [Organist]. 


"Yes; and I think it should be, generally speaking. I 
think the best plan of managing choir practice is for the 
organist to conduct, obtaining the help of a deputy at the 

"Yes. It is decidedly a mistake to have both organist 
and choirmaster in a small choir, as neither will yield to the 
other; consequently jealousies and disputes frequently arise." 

" No ; but should be, to avoid quarrels and differences of 
opinion respecting the rendering of musical compositions." 

•' No. According to my experience and opinion this plan 
secures much better results than is usual when the organist 
has all the work to do." [Organist]. 

" Xo. I fear choirs always suffer from the union of the 
two functions in one person. No organist can give proper 
attention to the training of the choir and play as well." 

' ' No. In our case the choirmaster — one of the chapel 
trustees— holds a voluntary office, and has been re-elected 
annually for fourteen years. This arrangement was entered 
upon with a view to maintain as much uniformity as possible 
in the services in case of change of organist. However, 
only three different organists have been engaged during that 

" Xo. We find it better to divide the duties. The 
qualifications of choirmaster are distinct from those of 
organist, and are seldom combined in one person, and if so 
combined, cannot be properly exercised at the same time. 
But when the duties are separated, who is to be at the head? 
Here's the rub ! At the performance of an oratorio the 
conductor is chief ; band, chorus, and organist must all obey 
him. And so at church ; if there is a choirmaster he must 
have the general command and be responsible for everything, 
the organ voluntaries excepted. This seems to me the 
correct theory, but whichever works best is best. If 
choirmaster and organist cannot work together in peace and 
harmony, then, as the least of two evils, let the organist be 
choirmaster as well." [Choirmaster]. 

It will be seen that the majority of churches have the 
combined office. There can be little doubt that this is by 
far the best workable plan. There may be instances 
when the offices are best divided, as for instance when the 
organist is a lady — though one fair correspondent boldly 
signs herself " organist and choirmistress " — but the two- 
in-one is, generally speaking, the most desirable arrange- 
ment, c 


First, it is very advisable that the responsibility of the 
entire musical service, vocal and instrumental, should be 
vested in one person. If anything goes wrong the 
organist may pass the blame to the choirmaster, and vice 
versa. Second, the relations between organist and 
choirmaster may become strained, and one may not be 
willing to give way to the other. Third, the organist 
will naturally take more care and interest in accompanying 
the choir he has trained, and he will feel more free to 
vary and adapt his accompaniments when the choir is 
under his own control and responsibility. 

The oft-repeated objection to the combined office is, 
" Organists are not good choirmasters;" they " thunder 
out their organ pipes" and "drown" the voices. This 
objection is very easily met. No organist should be 
accepted as qualified for his post unless he can train a choir. 
As before stated the organist of a congregational-singing 
church should be an accompanist of vocal music first, and 
a solo organ-player afterwards. Many organists think 
everything of their voluntaries and very little of their 
choir accompaniments. If the organist trains the choir, 
and they are worth the trouble and pains he expends upon 
them, he will, for his own credit's sake, adapt his 
accompaniments to the varied sentiment of the words and 
character of the hymns and anthems which have been 
rehearsed under his sole direction. It is to be feared that 
the organists of a good many congregational-singing 
churches think that playing hymn-tunes is a bore, to be 
despised and only just tolerated because there is no help 
for it. Such a state of things is deplorable for the 
development of congregational singing, and the sooner 
it is altered the better for the worshippers whose praises 
are so mechanically and soullessly led. 

Let the organist and choirmaster have the confidence of 
the minister and office-bearers ; place in his hands the 
whole control and absolute authority over the choir ; and 


make him responsible for the efficiency and smooth 
working of every department of the musical service. If 
he is fully qualified, and enters in his work with a joyous 
enthusiasm, lofty aims, and an exalted view of his office, 
then one step is secured towards a worthier and better 
rendering of congregational psalmody in the sanctuary. 




The question, " Does the choir contain boys, or ladies, or 
lothV was answered thus : — "Boys, no ladies," 2; "Ladies 
and boys," 100 (27 of these have boys for the alto part 
only, and many have only one or two boys in the choir) ; 
"Ladies only, no boys," 118. 

Subjoined are some of the replies : — 

" No ladies. The choir used to be composed of ladies and 
gentlemen, but there was no getting them to regular practice, 
so they were dismissed. Their average attendance at Sunday 
morning service was six or seven out of about twenty." 

" Boys are little use." 

"No boys. They are too much trouble, too uncertain, too 
insensible to the meaning and spirit of the words, and 
generally too irreverent." 

"If plenty of time for practice, I consider boys good in any 
choir, but not without plenty of training." 

" No boys. My small experience of them is that, for the 
small amount of music in chapel services, they are not 
worth the trouble of training." 

" I used to have boys, but whatever their advantages may 
be, there are certain disadvantages in their employment in a 
voluntary choir. The social nature of the choir is improved 
by having ladies present. If boys are also admitted this 

rnoiR organisation; etc. 21 

social feeling is to some extent lost. The boys are either 
ignored and suspected of eavesdropping, or if they are 
allowed the least familiarity they become very impertinent. 
Older men and women would not object to the presence of 
boys, but the young men and women who are usually 
employed are apt to take an exaggerated view of their want 
of expression, &c." 

The question " Do you keep a register of attendance at 
services and practices?" was answered thus: — " Yes," 91 ; 
"No," 129. Of the former, " boys only," 1; "services 
only," 12; "practices only," 9. Of the latter 5 are 
" going to." 

Subjoined are extracts from the replies : — 

" Singers like their absence to be noticed, as it shows 
their services are valued. My choir clearly understand that 
a duty voluntarily undertaken is a duty all the same." 

1 ' There is no necessity. The interest the choir take in 
their work dispenses with any kind of means indicating 
being employed." 

"No ; but we ought to." 

' ' I think that registers of attendances are of no use in a 
voluntary choir. They take up time in keeping and do no 
good that I can see. You cannot lay down hard and fast 
rules for volunteers to keep by." 

No ; but I think it is a very desirable mode of keeping up 
a voluntary choir. Thirty years ago I tried it with great 
success and good results." 

"No; we used to, and found members attended much 
better. Shall commence it again." 

" Yes. If a member is absent for some time that member 
is written to, and if still continuing to be absent, he or she 
is considered to have resigned their seat in the choir." 

" Yes ; but it has little effect." 

' ' Yes ; I find the choir attend more regularly when their 
attendance is registered." 

"Yes; and consider it of great benefit. It brings the 
choir early. Our chapel trustees give a sum of money 
annually to provide prizes for the most regular attendance." 

" Yes ; and I find it very beneficial." 

"Yes, as regards the boys. At the end of the year we 
give two prizes (books) — one for ' regular attendance and 
good behaviour ' — the other for ' improvement in singing.' " 

"No; but if absence of one month from the Sunday 
services is not accounted for by a reasonable cause, the 
delinquent ceases to be a member." 


The question, " Is a test of music-reading imposed on 
members'?" received 204 answers. "Yes," 77; "No," 
127. Of the former, 48 are variously qualified, e.g., 
"paid members only" 1; "except boys" 4; "except 
sopranos" 11; "Tonic Sol-fa only" 3; "simple 
psalm-tune "; " must be able to read fairly well," " unless 
the choirmaster knows beforehand," &c. 

Of the latter, 76 are qualified with reasons which will 
appear in the following quotations. 

"Yes. Must be able to sing a simple hymn-tune fairly at 
sight." [This frequently occurs]. 

' ' Yes ; though when we hear of an exceptionally fine 
voice we often waive the reading." 

' ' New members are admitted after satisfying a committee 
of four who do not place so much stress on attainment in 
reading as on a good ear and a fair quality of voice. 
Reading is perhaps more easily acquired than these." 

" No. Most of the choir are pianoforte players." 

"No. We find that ladies especially will not come forward 
if they are to be put through a music-reading test. We 
have to ascertain their musical capacities in some other way 
before admitting them to the choir." 

' ' No. Most of the choir understand the Tonic Sol-fa 
system, hence there is little trouble in getting new tunes to 
be learnt." 

" Good voice is all that is required from sopranos.'" [This 
frequently occurs], 

"No; there ought to be, but I am afraid there are 
dummies in every choir." 

"Yes; but when anyone expresses a wish to join, and when 
tried is found to possess a good voice but lacks musical 
knowledge, a place is found for him in or near the choir, 
and the study of music is encouraged until he is fitted to 
become a member." 

" Unfortunately, no. Being a voluntary choir new 
members seem to think their services must be eagerly 
accepted whether good or bad." 

" The master of the singing class in connection with the 
Sunday School recommends those he considers ready to enter 
the choir." 

" No. But their musical capacity is previously known to 
me." [This, or a similar reply occurs very frequently]. 

"No. I find so much difficulty in procuring new members 
that I cannot absolutely enforce this condition." [This 
frequently occurs]. 


The question, " Are any members of the choir paid?" 
received 224 answers. ''Yes," 55. " Entirely voluntary," 
183. Of the former, "all paid," 3; "leading soprano 
only," 7 ; " one to each part," 8 ; the remainder were not 

Samples of replies : — 

" All voluntary, except £10 gratuity which is allowed the 
choir collectively for a yearly picnic." 

' ' None paid ; but they all have given them a pleasure 
trip (food and railway fare) in the summer, and a supper in 
the winter." 

' ' Not regularly salaried ; but the more attentive and 
valuable members, if in poor circumstances, have not 
unfrequently received Christmas and other timely presents 
in recognition of their services." 

" We used to have a paid soprano, but discharged her, as 
we found there was a certain amount of jealousy amongst 
the other [voluntary] members." 

" They should be, to ensue regular attendance." 

" No. I wish they were. Then I should not be dejDendent 
upon the irregularities of voluntary choristers. The parts in 
a choir should be always well balanced, and this is practically 
impossible with the voluntary system." 

' ' The members of the choir are all paid alike with the 
exception of the choirmaster. A yearly collection is made, 
one third of which goes towards the organist's salary, one 
third to the choirmaster, and the remainder is divided 
amongst the members of the choir according to the number 
of attendances at practices and services." 

The question, " Are there any other points of choir 
organisation which you find of value ? " received many 
copious and varied answers. The following have been 
selected as being of interest and value : — 

"Punctual and regular attendance and attention at 
rehearsals, so that each chorister may be practically 
independent of the rest, or of the organ, on Sundays. Each 
member of the choir should feel it as absolutely necessary to 
attend both rehearsals and services as if the success of the 
services depended upon his own unaided exertions. The 
difficulty I experience is in infusing this spirit of feeling and 
responsibility. Where it is present the singing will be 
successful, even with mediocre voices ; without it the best 


voices will but fail. The church authorities m ust, if the thing 
is to be successful, take an active interest in the choir, from 
the minister downwards, and some of them [office bearers] 
should be at each rehearsal. In our town the congregation 
is largest where the music is best, thus showing the 
importance of it." 

" Every quarter the attendances of each member are read 
out, and every one who has not made 20 attendances out of 
39 is requested to improve in that respect or else resign, 
unless any good reason can be given, such as illness, absence 
from home, &c." 

' ' The appointment of a superintendent to each part has 
been found of great value in keeping up the attendance and 
in promoting an esprit de corps amongst the members ; 
besides which it relieves the organist or choirmaster of a 
great deal of routine work which he cannot conveniently 
attend to." [This reply frequently occurs]. 

' ' My impression is that every member should be paid to 
ensure good organization." 

' ' AVe have a President, Treasurer, Secretary, Librarian, 
and Committee. The first two offices are filled by prominent 
members of the congregation, and all are elected annually by 
the choir at a meeting called for this purpose. The meeting 
is attended by the minister and intimate friends of the 
members, and is made interesting by musical selections, &c." 
[40 in choir]. 

' ' I find it is important to have a fixed night and time for 
practice. A changeable practice-night causes a poor 

" We have a picnic in summer and a social evening in 
winter." [This reply is frequently given, as being a good 
thing in helping to keep the choir together]. 

" The minister to be his own choirmaster." 

' ' Impressing upon the choir that they are second only to 
the minister in the worship of the service." 

"Backward singers we place beside those more advanced 
for them to coach, and they are, in a degree, responsible for 
their progress and usefulness." 

' ' A choir fund of one penny per week each member, the 
proceeds devoted to a social gathering, or assisting sick 
members." [52 members]. 

"First, strict discipline. Second, always keep some- 
thing on the move by way of practice, either in anthems, 
&c, or vocal music lessons, thus binding choir members 

" To pay no attention to individual 'fads.' Choir-singing 
is an earnest matter and we discourage frivolity." 


•• In giving the orgranist sole authority over the choii ." 

'• We maintain that the choii thoroughly a part of 

the congregation, and that joining the choir should be 
esteemed an honour. Our aim has been to raise the choir in 
every respect." 

" Where practicable a room near the choir seats should be 
provided, in which the choir should meet, receive the tune 
lists, and from which it could file quietly into the orchestra 
two or three minutes before the minister ascends the pulpit. 
No one to enter the orch 

p the interest up by continually introducing 
something fresh and new/' [This frequently occxu s]. 

" Plenty of work — new music and preparation 1 
and 'services of song" — is the best organization for keeping a 
choir together."' 

"Members should attend the pra Lvilege, not 

as a duty." 

"The whole responsibility 1 i sf on the choirmasti i ; this 
we think better than having elabo: 

■• As . i al< . I think choirs are not sufficiently well the oght 
of and 

"It is pi lect the choir from members of the 

congregation onl; i -mote some amount of entire-: 

to insist on decorum - - tional 

spirit into the work. £ consider the £ 
important as ti jj, that it should. 1 

to the best of our ability, and in a pro] 
remembering that it is an act I ration — not of mere 


" I find it useful to have a sort of reserve fund of young 
ladies and gentlemen from the Sunday school, to train them 
at the practices, and then when a vacan i - it can be 

filled immediat- 

"In .ission of members, as much importance is 

attached to their taking a hearty interest in the services and 
being likely to work pleasantly with the other members, as to 
their musical qualifications, and I believe such a plan is 
better than any code of rules." 

" Tre it all members alik 

" "We contrive to make our choir self-supporting by having 

a small monthly subscription and we have a treasurer, 

:id committee of four (one from each part | to manage 

concerts. &c., and to consult as to the welfare of the choir." 

[This reply, as to a committee of the choi: - frequently]. 

ich member is balloted in by vote of choir, 
passing examination by organist or choirma-" 

" Each singer has his or her seat m the choir, and book 
with name ... 


" Choirmaster must be in earnest, enthusiastic, keep alive 
the interest of the choir by every means. Toady to none, 
then no one can find fault in regard to favouritism, which 
has killed many a choir. In short — natural tact" 

"If any member cannot attend a service, he or she will 
either tell the choir secretary, or get a substitute from the 
Psalmody Association, and this is very generally adhered to." 

" No choir committee and no rules. The main thing is to 
make the choir comfortable, and find them plenty to do." 

"Regular attendance at practice is our rule. Implicit 
obedience to the organist's instructions as to the rendering of 
different passages, and no time wasted by conversation 
amongst the members of the choir." 

' ' To seek to make the practices as pleasant and interesting 
as is consistent with thorough work."' 

" The choir work best if there is only one head; if there 
are two or three masters it cannot work well. It is very 
important to keep the choir interested in their work. They 
will not attend well if they have nothing but tunes and 
chants to sing. I believe that more choirs are ruined by 
having too little work than by having too much. I always 
find that after having performed a difficult piece they work 
much better." 

"There must be new music constantly, for with something 
fresh to look forward to, the choir take extra trouble to 
come regularly." 

" I believe in the necessity of a hearty recognition by 
the church and congregation of the services of the choir, so 
that his or her services are regarded as an essential part of 
church work. The contrary of this is unhappily too 

' ' I am allowed to draw to the extent of sixty pounds 
[? per annum] for choir purposes. This money I spend as I 
see fit, as it is part of the agreement that no account of it 
requires to be given. I have therefore no difficulty in doing 
many things which cannot be carried out in other churches." 
[Organist and choirmaster both voluntary]. 

"After an experience of nearly thirty years as organist 
and choirmaster, I am of opinion that there are only two 
means of keeping a choir properly organized. 1. By actual 
payment. 2. In a voluntary choir by giving them a 
plentiful supply of music to interest them, and by having 
regularly fixed occasions for its introduction. Since the 
introduction of anthems, &c, in our services the attendance 
of the choir both at practices and on Sundays has been 
remarkable, and such a thing as a poor attendance never 


" The vital importance of accepting persons of high moral 
character, those, in fact, who may be considered to assist in 
the ' Service of Song ' for the glory of God, and not for mere 
musical interest or display. The observance of this rule and 
practice has led (1) to an absence of any feud, disagreement, 
or split in this choir during a quarter of a century's 
experience, and (2) to the grateful acceptance by our 
ministers and congregation of anthems sung by the choir to 
the congregation, to which practice in many Nonconformist 
churches there is objection arising out of scruples as to the 
character, motive, or object of the singers. ... I 
habitually keep the soprano part excessively strong, as the 
lead (par excellence) in hymn-singing." [50 in choir]. 

' ' By alternating rehearsals of sacred music in chapel with 
rehearsals of secular music in the schoolroom, the quality of 
the choir is kept fairly satisfactory, and a certain amount of 
enthusiasm is diffused among the members." 

' ' Absentees from practice are fined one penny. Late 
comers fined one halfpenny." 

" A singing-class of young people from the Sunday 
school is a most valuable nursery for the choir. The class 
and choir to intermingle as much as possible by 
some members of the choir attending the class in order to 
encourage and help the young folks, and for the older 
' young folks ' to remain and listen to the choir practice." 

' ' In my experience much harm has been done to voluntary 
choirs by the "caste" feeling. Our choir is composed of 
persons in various grades of life, but a most harmonious 
feeling exists and has existed for the past fiften years during 
which I have been organist. The most comfortable corner 
of the choir seat is not appropriated by the lady or gentleman 
who is best off, but the members are seated in the seniority 
of their membership, a plan which answers well." 

"The reserve choir is of great importance. In case of 
foreseen absence the members of the choir communicate 
with the choir secretary who then calls out the ' reserves.' " 
[The "reserve choir" is frequently mentioned as being a 
" good thing"]. 

" I hold a preparatory class for young people at which 
reading at sight and elementary instruction in music is 
given. Candidates for the choir who do not meet the 
required standard are invited to qualify by joining the class. 
I have now about 50 members." [The preparatory class is 
common in Scotland]. 

' ' Always to occupy the same seats at rehearsals and 
services. Sometimes it is of advantage that there should be 
a committee to co-operate with, and certainly not dictate to, 

28 commox PRAISE. 

the choirmaster. When there is a disposition towards the 
latter the choirmaster had better act alone. But in many 
voluntary choirs a representative committee can relieve a 
choirmaster to a great extent of the odium which sometimes 
follows some small details of arrangement." [43 in choir]. 

' ' In maintaining the efficiency of our choir we depend 
more upon cultivating a good spirit and high tone amongst 
the members, than upon mere mechanical regulations or 

" Each member has his own book, provided by the church, 
and for which he is responsible. Each member to be in his 
seat (allotted) before the minister enters the pulpit." 

The successful management of a voluntary choir is 
attended with no small difficulty and anxiety. The music 
question in the churches has frequently engendered more 
discord than harmony. Choir rows and choir strikes are 
not altogether unknown, and are often the cause of 
serious mischief. There are very few of the older churches 
that could not give some unhappy experiences of the 
friction caused by some wretched little squabble in church 
musical matters. With careful management, courtesy, 
sympathy, and tact on the part of minister, office bearers, 
and choirmaster, all such unfortunate catastrophes may 
be avoided. The object of this chapter will be gained if 
I am able — with the help of the statistics and invaluable 
quotations — to smooth the way towards a better under- 
standing of the music question wherein it relates to the 
important matter of the choir, its organization and 

The Constitution of the Choir. 
The choir may be (1) entirely paid; (2) partly paid; 
or (3) entirely voluntary. The first of these is almost 
impracticable on the ground of expense, except in small 
congregations where a quartet or sextet would be strong 
enough to lead. Further, it would do away with 
voluntary help which has so long rendered valuable service 
in the choirs of [Nonconformist churches. 


There is something to be said in favour of a partly 
paid choir. When the soprano and alto parts are taken 
by boys and there are no ladies, remuneration for 
the boys is almost a necessity in order to ensure their 
regular attendance and good conduct — a fine being the 
punishment for misbehaviour. When there are paid 
members in a mixed choir (men and women) it is an 
advantage to have a paid quartet — one voice to each part 
— especially if the choir be small or newly-formed. If 
one division of the choir is weak, it is desirable to 
have two paid members for that particular part. On the 
other hand, if the choir is stronger in one part than 
another, paid help in the stronger part may be dispensed 

Some churches, — happily their number is decreasing, — 
have what they call a " leader " who is generally, not 
always, remunerated. The " leader" is usually a lady 
with a big soprano voice, which does not, or will not, 
always blend with the other voices in the choir, and which 
thus becomes disagreeably prominent and obnoxious. To this 
"leader" the other members of the choir look for the starts, 
with some such result as the following. The organ chord 
will first be heard, then the " leader's " voice, followed by 
the choir, while the congregation, at a respectful distance, 
bring up the rear. The " leader " may therefore be the 
cause of indecision and dragging, qualities bad enough in 
a congregation, but unpardonable in a choir ; while 
precision and simultaneous attack — the first essentials of 
a choir — are likely to be conspicuously absent. 

As the result of careful observation and experience I am 
convinced that it is far better to have no other leader in 
the choir than the choirmaster. The organist will give and 
regulate the time, and the choir must keep exactly with the 
organ, and not lag behind. The whole choir with the 
organ should be exactly together, neither waiting for the 
other, and this united force should give such a grand, 


decisive lead as to prove irresistible to the congregation. 
To realise this the choir must be thoroughly well drilled in 
precision, and smart in attack, or else the congregation 
will do just what they like with the time. 

An entirely voluntary choir — when it is composed of per- 
sons of both sexes — is far better inmost cases than one that is 
partly paid. One objection to paid members is that they 
are likely to destroy the esprit de corps of the choir, and 
introduce an element that may not satisfactorily 
blend with voluntary effort. Also when good, singers in 
the congregation know that some of the choir are paid 
they are apt to shirk their responsibilities by not joining 
the choir, and thus not only deprive the choir of 
much valuable help, but deny themselves a great deal 
of enjoyment. If a voluntary choir cannot be attained all 
at once, it should be worked for, and the trouble taken in 
securing it will not be labour in vain. 

The employment of boys' voices to the exclusion of 
women's, though common in the Established church, is not 
customary in IN'onconformist churches ; and there are many 
reasons against the exclusion from our choirs of one of the 
most beautiful, indeed, the perfection of all musical 
instruments, the human voice in a woman. 

The objections to boys in choirs far outweigh the 
advantages. If all our churches possessed the resources of 
St. Paul's Cathedral or Westminster Abbey — where the 
boys are fed, clothed, and lodged under one roof and are 
amenable to constant oversight and strict discipline, and 
have their daily vocal practice of two hours in addition to 
two services — then we might do worse than have boys. 
Granting that our services are not so ornate as those at 
cathedrals, a boy's voice must be well trained or it will be 
disagreeable even in a hymn-tune. There is no doubt that 
boys' voices are penetrating and pleasant to listen to — 
when they do not sing through their noses — but it 
requires an immense amount of training to make them 


mellow enough to blend with others. And it frequently 
happens that after a painstaking choirmaster has 
removed the rough edge from a boy's voice, the little 
chorister shows his gratitude by going off to some other 
church where the pay is perhaps a shilling a week more. 
Of course you may legally bind him down, but he may 
turn nasty, and a sulky boy is intolerable. 

It is also important to bear in mind that it is imposible to 
put old heads on young shoulders. A boy's singing — with 
rare exceptions — is mechanical and soulless compared with 
that of a person of mature years. You cannot expect to 
get a proper appreciation of and feeling in the words by 
lads under fourteen ; and even if you could there remain 
the difficulties attendant upon their training and 
behaviour. Some churches may be so favoured as to 
secure good boys from cultured families, but the ordinary 
Sunday-school boy's manners, for instance, apart from his 
vocal training, require a deal of polish and cultivation 
before he can be pronounced fit and proper. Choir boys 
are a source of endless anxiety and trouble to most choir- 
masters, and far greater results in every way can be more 
easily secured when they do not take the place of women 
in church choirs. 

Eoys are sometimes enlisted in mixed choirs, but their 
voices do not always blend with those of women. In 
"Wales especially they are frequently used in the alto part, 
but the effect is often spoilt by a forcing of the voices. 
Speaking generally, it is better to have either boys and men, 
or women and men in church choirs, the latter being 
the most satisfactory in every way. 

Vacancies in the choir. How shall they be filled up ? 
An excellent plan is to have a preparatory singing-class of 
young people from which to recruit the choir. This class, 
or choir nursery, may be under the direction of the choir- 
master or other competent person upon whom the 
choirmaster may rely for information respecting the candi- 
dates for admission to the choir. 


Vacancies should be notified privately and not publicly. 
An announcement from the pulpit may bring some 
good-meaning people who are no use at all. A voice 
and reading test is a safeguard, but unless there is plenty 
of material and the choirmaster is not personally known 
to most of the congregation, the enforcement of a test, 
after an open invitation from the pulpit may be a disagree- 
able business. A better plan is to discover who among 
the congregation have the ability and willingness to help 
in the praise service, and then privately ask them to join 
the choir. Another way is to ask those whom you think 
competent to attach themselves temporarily to the choir as 
deputies to supply the places of absentees. You will soon 
be able to find out if they are desirable as regular members 
and then secure them if possible. It is sad to have to 
confess it, but caste feelings still exist in our choirs, 
though not to the same extent now as formerly. It may 
be necessary, therefore, to act with caution as to whom 
you invite. Theoretically there should be no class dis- 
tinctions in any part of church work, but, unfortunately, 
it is not carried out in practice. 

Some choirmasters, after reporting upon the musical 
abilities of the candidate, depend on the vote of the choir 
as to his or her admission. This relieves the choirmaster 
of the unpleasantness of having to say "no" to unsuitable 
offers, and throws the responsibility upon the choir. It 
works fairly well in large choirs, but it is not always 
desirable, especially if the candidate has friends in the 
choir. Personal considerations are somewhat delicate in 
this matter, and the choirmaster will need a good supply 
of natural tact to help him in this as in many other 

Reading test. Shall there be a sight-reading test? 
There ought to be. Can it be enforced ? Unfortunately, 
in most cases, no ! As previously stated personal con- 
siderations are partly an obstacle. Then the supply of 


good voices is by no means equal to the demand. Choir- 
masters are often beggars in the matter of getting 
assistance in the choir, and beggars cannot always be 
choosers. It will be a happy time for choirmasters when 
the miserable old prejudice against sitting in the choir 
will be a thing of the past, and when those who have the 
ability — and there must be many — and who are free from 
family and other ties will gladly consider it their duty and 
high privilege to help in the " service of praise." In the 
meantime we must be thankful for, and make the best use 
of available material, and not do anything to frighten it 

It is a matter of regret that so many musical people who 
play the piano, who have good voices and can sing a song 
fairly well, should be unable to read a simple hymn-tune 
correctly ; but such is a fact. Then, on the other hand, 
there are some good readers with no voices worth speaking 
of. If you have to choose between an indifferent reader 
with a good voice and a good reader with a poor voice, by 
all means select the good voice, and in all probability the 
reading will come. In the soprano part especially, 
the voice should be the first consideration. This 
opinion is confirmed by so high an authority as Mr. Henry 
Leslie, who, in reference to the admission of members into 
his famous choir, made "good singing the necessary 
qualification ; good reading was of course an advantage, 
but not a necessity."* 

With regard to the parts other than the soprano much 
must be left to the judgment of choirmasters and the 
material at their disposal. There are, as a rule, good and 
indifferent readers in most choirs. Therefore, "Those that 
are strong should help the weak." Though good reading 
is very desirable it is hardly wise to make it a sine qua non. 
However, the indifferent readers must be roused up, and 
made to feel their deficiency. A little good-humoured 

* "The History of Henry Leslie's Choir," by F. A. Bridge, p. 24. 



criticism will go some way towards doing this. Every 
effort should be put forth to make good readers, in the 
hope that with the spread of musical education there 
will be no lack in the future. Some of the best readers I 
have met with have learnt to read the Staff notation 
through the medium of the Tonic Sol-fa system. The 
mental effects and the importance of key relationship 
characteristic of that excellent method are worthy of the 
serious study of all who wish to become good readers; and 
the time spent in the acquirement of its principles and 
simple methods will prove a most profitable investment to 
vocalists and instrumentalists alike. 

Balance of parts. Taking the Leeds Festival Choir of 
1883 as a model, a properly balanced choir should have 
nearly the same number of voices in each part. But a 
choir in a congregational-singing church should be very 
strong in the soprano and bass parts. The soprano part 
needs to be well brought out and made prominent, as by 
far the larger proportion of the congregation sing the 
melody. The bass should be powerful enough to make the 
moving ground-tone felt, and thus make the rhythm 
pronounced and unmistakable. However, the alto and 
tenor parts must not be neglected, and whenever possible 
they should be proportionately represented, but the soprano 
should always be the strongest part. 

Choir Management. 
The choirmaster should be the only recognised head of 
the choir, and its entire management should unreservedly 
be placed in his hands. He should have absolute power, 
supreme authority, and sole control of everything relating 
to the choir and its work. He should be an autocrat ; 
but if he is a sensible man he will take care not to abuse 
his power. "When a number of people work together as 
a united body there must be order, method, and 
discipline, and they must, each and all, be subject to some 
controlling power, whose word must be law. This 


regulating and controlling authority should be vested 
entirely in the hands of the choirmaster, and in no other 
person or persons. Firmness combined with courtesy, and 
authority allied with kindness, will bo sure to gain 
confidence and respect. The choirmaster who possesses 
these qualities and exercises them, will seldom, if ever, 
have occasion to use his full power — a word, or even a 
hint, will be quite sufficient. 

Committees of management of choirs are often the 
cause of w/snianagement and misunderstanding. AVith 
a good choirmaster a committee is quite superfluous. 
Their election is apt to create petty jealousies, 
and to cause divisions and cliques in the choir. 
However, there is no objection to the choirmaster's 
relinquishing some of his minor duties. A librarian or 
secretary is often a very useful and invaluable helper to the 
choirmaster, especially in a large choir; but it should be 
distinctly understood that he acts only under the 
direction of the choirmaster and has no authority beyond 
what he receives from him. 

The importance here given to the supreme authority 
of the choirmaster must not be understood to infer that 
he is not to consult the choir on any question affecting 
their happiness or welfare. On the contrary a choir- 
master who respects — I am almost inclined to say loves, — 
his choir will be only too glad to take their opinion 
when occasion requires it ; and he may do this without 
losing a particle of their respect or diminishing his 
own authority. Let the choirmaster show his invaluable 
co-ad jutors that their comfort, reputation, and musical 
education have the first place in his thoughts, and he 
will secure far greater results from his personal interest in 
them than the red-tapeisms of half-a-dozen committees. 

As far as possible the choirmaster should avoid showing 
favouritism. He will soon get to know which are his most 
efficient helpers, but he had better not show that he does. 


comroy praise. 

When solos have to be done they should be sung in turn by 
those who are competent to sing them, and the selection 
should be made by the choirmaster. 

Each member of the choir should have his specified 
seat in church and at the choir practice Each should 
have his own book provided by, and remaining the 
property of the church. A good plan is for all choir 
books and sheet music to be numbered, and for each 
member to have a number ; by this means each one will 
always use the same books. All the arrangement of 
books and places should be made by the choirmaster. 

A register of attendance at services and practices 
should be kept by the choirmaster or someone deputed by 
him. The addresses of all members and the date of 
their joining- should be notified in the choir attendance 
book. The attendances should be summarised at the end 
of every three months. This will enable the choirmaster 
to see who are the most regular members, and the 
members themselves, knowing that their presence or 
absence is of sufficient importance to be notified, will be 
stimulated to come regularly. The "Sunday School Class 
Register," issued annually by the Sunday School Union, 
price fourpence, makes a capital choir attendance book. 
On the pages for "names and addresses of scholars," 
substitute "choir" for "scholars." In the "age" 
column put the member's number as suggested above. 
Fill up the attendance thus : — 




Total attendances. 













Bach Sunday. 


Miss Jones 

X X 

a X 

X a 







Mr. Lloyd 

a x 

X X 

X X 








Mr. Santlcy 

X X 

X X 

a x 







Total = 

M. E. 



je : 


ice = 


This is on a reduced scale to economise space. "a" 
means absent, " X " means present. The total attend- 
ances of the whole choir at each service are put in the 
extreme right-hand columns, and should be filled in weekly 
to show how many were present at each service. At the 
end of the quarter these figures should be added up and 
the average attendance be ascertained. The columns next 
to the dates are for the total attendances of each member 
for the quarter, and should not be added up and filled in 
till the quarter has expired. The latter pages of this 
useful book may, with a little management, be made 
available for the rehearsals. When the attendance is 
getting low it will prove a stimulus to read out at the 
choir practice the number of service attendances. This 
may be done in a good-natured way to avoid giving 
offence. A playful allusion to prizes for the most regular 
members will help to make things pleasant. This simple 
method of keeping the attendance will be found very 

Intending absentees should previously inform the 
choirmaster, and, if possible, send a deputy. As a seat is 
specially reserved for each member there may be serious 
gaps in the choir if two or three are away without 
supplying a substitute; the importance of providing one 
should be impressed on members. 

There may be some efficient singers, who, being unable 
to attend both services would be willing to come to one. 
There is no objection to this providing seating accommo- 
can be arranged, but it should be understood that these 
" half-timers " attend the practices. It is frequently the 
custom in Scotland to have relays of choirs, or a large 
choir divided into two or three divisions, each division — 
properly balanced — being a month on duty in the choir 
seats, and the remaining division or divisions occupying 
seats among the congregation. If the choirs all rehearsed 


together regularly, and a sufficient number of voices can 
be secured, this plan might be advantageous. But in the 
majority of cases it is difficult to get one choir, much more 
two or three, in each church. I am inclined to think that 
a regular well-drilled choir is more satisfactory in most 
cases than a constantly shifting body of singers. How- 
ever, there can be no harm in trying it. 

Some choirs have an elaborate set of printed rules. In 
many instances they are more frequently broken than 
adhered to. In large choirs they may be an advantage, 
but the moment they are broken they become practically 
useless. With a business-like choirmaster, and a sense of 
honour and responsibility among the members, there will 
be no necessity for elaborate rules. One rule — the rule of 
duty — is quite sufficient. 

Pines for non-attendance at rehearsals (not services) 
might be desirable if agreed to by all. A penny is quite 
sufficient, and might either go into the missionary box 
or towards the purchase of extra music. 

The " powers that be" should grant an annual sum for 
the purchase of music other than the service music. 
Octavo sheet music is now so cheap that a choir can 
reasonably be kept going at the rate of Is. or Is. 6d. per 
head per annum. This is not a large amount, and it is an 
excellent investment. Oratorios are more expensive, and 
should only be undertaken by large choirs. 

A social gathering of the choir, annually or bi-annually, 
is a good thing. This should be held at the residence 
of some interested friend, or failing this, at the lecture 
hall or school of the church. An indoor gathering in the 
winter, and picnic or garden party in the summer, might 
be managed, but in a matter of this kind the arrangements 
must be influenced by local circumstances. The chief 
thing is to make it thoroughly sociable and enjoyable, 
and have as little stiffness and formality as possible. 


How can I best keep niy choir together and promote 
their efficiency ? This question, often in the minds if not 
on the lips of choirmasters is easily answered. First of 
all, interest them in their work. Take no end of pains 
with their training. Always " stick up" for your choir, 
and remember that you are one of them. If you are 
organist as well as choirmaster, put the duties of 
choirmaster before that of organist. Give the choir plenty 
to do outside the actual church work, though by no means 
neglect the service music. Your choir may be of great 
usefulness in good works beyond the church walls. 
Concerts to the poor in mission hails, workhouses, &c, 
are excellent channels of enjoyable work, and the 
preparation for such will stimulate interest in the choir 
practices and will do good at the same time. 

Finally, help your choir to realize the importance, the 
dignity, and the responsibilities of their office. Set before 
them a high ideal. Fire them with earnest enthusiasm. 
Inspire them with lofty motives and sincere desires. 
Music, however excellent its performance, when devoid of 
soul, must be cold, mechanical, and lifeless. To sing with 
art, but with the heart also is the highest ideal of worship 
music. To aim at the fulfilment of this should be the 
sincere desire of all who take part in the service of praise, 
whether he be the most eminent cathedral organist or the 
humblest village chorister. 




The question, "Does the choir hold a weekly practice?'''' 
received 219 answers. 23 reply "No." 196 "Yes." The 
former are qualified thus: — "once a month" 1; "fort- 
nightly" 3 ; " not regularly "11. Of the latter, " only 
in summer" 1; "yes, on Sunday" 3; "twice a week" 
5 ; and many add, "not in summer months," and " extra 
practices when necessary." 

Subjoined are three of the replies : — 

"Yes, regularly, and that is one of the reasons for the 
success we have had." 

' ' Two rehearsals weekly. One for the younger members 
in the rudiments of music and scale practice, and the other 
for the service music." [40 in choir. Boys and ladies.] 

" No, and the choir sutlers accordingly." 

The questions, " In rehearsing the choir do you, as a 
rule, have instrumental accompaniment; if so, what 
instrument do you use?" received so many equivocal 
answers that it is impossible to summarize them. 

Specimens of the replies are here given. 

" No accompaniment, because I find that I make far better 
readers, secure true intonation, have less dragging, and 
altogether produce more satisfactory work." 

THE rim in PRACTICE. 41 

" I consider the pianoforte the most effective for practice, 
as it induces a crisp and distinct rendering, and helps to take 
the dragging propensities out of a choir." 

" Nothing is passed till it can be sung without accompani- 

" In summer we use the organ in the church. In winter 
we use pianoforte in lecture hall. I consider the piano 
superior for practice." 

" The instrument hides a multitude of sins." 

" The choir are made to sing independently of the organ. 
I am no believer in the 'propping up of singers." 

The question, "Does the choir practise secular music, 
and sacred music other than, the service music?" received 
218 answers. 41 reply "]N T o." 177 "Yes." Some of the 
latter were qualified thus: — "sacred, not secular," 32; 
" occasionally for special concerts, soirees, &c," 45. 

Samples of the replies are here given. 

" Yes, both sacred and secular. In fact, I could not dis- 
pense with them, as I find they are a great source of attraction, 
and an inducement to securing a good and steady attendance." 

" Yes, we have a large quantity of anthems, as well as a 
number of part-songs. These are kept up and practised, 
both to make our meetings more interesting, and to enable us 
to give concerts, recitals, etc., when our services may be 

' ' Experience teaches me that unless you give occasional 
performances, a voluntary choir will drop through ; 40 to 60 
will turn up to rehearse tor a concert, but about 8 or 9 for a 
psalmody practice." 

" Last Christmas we learnt a number of Christmas carols, 
and we went out and sang them on Christmas Eve. We sang 
some on Christmas Day, and on the Sunday after Christmas 
we had a service of carols in the Sunday-school. The whole 
service went very well." 

" Yes, both, as I consider they are helpful to our worship 
music by improving our singing capabilities." 

The choir-practice, or rehearsal, is of vital importance to 
the efficiency of every choir. This fact cannot be too 
strongly emphasised. It is sometimes thought that the 
choir of a congregational-singing church has little or 
no need to practise the service music, because of its 
simplicity and familiarity. Such a policy is fatal both to 


the efficiency of the choir and the interests of congrega- 
tional psalmody. Supposing the importance of the choir- 
practice to be acknowledged, there is little use holding it 
unless the whole, or a large proportion of the choir attend 
regularly. " How can I induce my choir to come to the 
practices ? " is a question which troubles the choirmaster 
more than any other. It can be answered in a sentence — 
" Set before the choir members their duty and responsi- 
bility, and make the choir-practices as interesting and 
attractive as you possibly can." To this end the following 
suggestions may be useful. 

The choir-practice should be held at least weekly. A 
regular fixed evening should be assigned to it. "When the 
members join, it should be quite understood that they 
are not only to be present at the services as often as 
possible, but also to attend the practices. It thus becomes 
a bond of honour which should not be lightly broken. 
High principle should be strongly enforced and upheld in 
this matter, and the members of the choir should consider 
it not only a privilege, but a duty to attend the practices. 
The engagement to attend is equally binding on the 
choirmaster. If without previous notice he absents 
himself from the practice the choir will be discouraged, 
and will probably follow his example on the next 
practice-night. Moreover, he should be punctual. Many 
choir practices have almost been ruined by the impo- 
liteness and neglect of choirmasters. If the choirmaster 
cannot attend he should cancel the practice, and give 
due notice beforehand. 

It is much more convenient and sociable to hold the 
practice in a room — not too large or too small— than in 
the church ; moreover, far better results will be ob- 
tained, and the rehearsal will be much more enjoyed. 
There should be as little instrumental accompaniment as 
possible. A piano is preferable to a harmonium, as it 
enables the accent to be strongly marked and promotes 


brightness and lightness in the singing. If the practice 
must be held in the church, a small harmonium, or a piano 
— not the organ — should be used. At St. Paul's Cathedral 
the only instrumental aid at the full rehearsals is a small 
harmonium which Dr. Stainer uses only for those pieces 
which require independent accompaniment ; and at the 
choral rehearsals held at Exeter Hall for the Handel 
festivals, the sole instrumental support for about 3,000 
singers is a grand piano. Tie organ, unless played very 
softly, hides vocal defects and covers mistakes which 
should be corrected and not passed over. A choir to be 
classed "good" should be able to sing without any 

The choir should sit in the same order at practices as at 
services. As before stated (p. 36) each member should 
have his own number, and use the books and sheet music 
corresponding to it. This is most important, as any 
special indication — expression, emphasis, &c. — given at 
the rehearsals should be marked in the books, and the 
choirmaster should see that it is done. Many choirmasters 
have cause to regret that the instructions given at the 
practice have been neglected at the services or perform- 
ances on account of forgetfulness, or laziness in not 
marking the books. Let each member mark his own book, 
and the responsibility then rests with him and not with 
the choirmaster. 

The choirmaster should have a definite programme for 
the practice, which should be drawn up and written out 
beforehand. He should have everything "cut and dried" 
in a business-like manner, and then there will be no 
hesitation or want of continuity. He should come to the 
practice full of enthusiasm and with a determination to 
make it successful and enjoyable. Energy and tact will 
help him immensely. He should let the choir see that he 
is thoroughly in earnest, and that he expects nothing but 
first-class work from them. Inattention should not be 
tolerated for one moment, and apathy promptly roused. 


Listlessness, or a "don't care" sort of feeling, either on 
the part of choirmaster or choir, will spoil the practice. The 
common habit of talking after " attention " has been called 
should be instantly checked. It is not only exceedingly 
annoying to the choirmaster, but also to those members of 
the choir who wish to sing, rather than interrupt with 
frivolous chatter ; and it is on the latter ground that it 
can be most effectually stopped. There are usually two or 
three gossips — ladies and gentlemen — in every choir, but 
they must be firmly but kindly asked to withhold their 
little conversations till after the practice. The choir- 
master should not commence anything till all the places 
are found and silence is secured. He should pass from 
one thing to another without delay, thereby giving the 
practice life and "go." A break of a few minutes for 
rest may be made about half way through the practice, 
when any intimations may be given. 

The hymns, or portions of them, for the following 
Sunday services should be rehearsed, except when they 
are so familiar as to render this unnecessary. Many old 
tunes of the "York" and "St. Michael's" type — ■ 
especially when sung to antiquated and colourless hymns 
— will scarcely need rehearsing. But the modern 
hymns, for which tunes have been specially written, will 
well repay diligent practice. Such, for example, as Nos. 
24 (1st tune), 91, 222, 223 (2nd tune), 257, 260, 266, 
285, and 436 (2nd tune), in " Hymns Ancient and 
Modern," revised edition, and a hundred others, are full 
of musical and poetic beauty ; and the singing of such 
with expression and feeling will be an interesting and 
delightful exercise. 

A clear and distinct enunciation of the words is of the 
utmost importance. The choirmaster should be able to hear 
every word without referring to his book. The aspirate 
requires careful attention, especially when applied to the 
Diety. Examples :—" 7/o-ly," " Praise i/im." Take 


care of the final consonants ; for instance, " t " and " d " 
— example : "Lea<?, Kinrf-ly Lightf;" and especially "g" 
— example: "every passing hour," not "every passin' 
hour." All the vowels should be well looked after. "E" 
is frequently changed into "I." Example : — " Saviour. 
bless/d Saviour," instead of " Saviour, blessed Saviour." 
Words with three or more syllables are often indistinctly sung. 
Example: — "Eichusness," instead of "Rightf-eous-ness." 
Eunning one word into another is an equally bad fault 
which should be promptly corrected. Example : — 
" Lif-tup-yr-rheads," instead of " ~L\it up your 7/eads." 

The special characteristics of each hymn — as, for instance. 
praise, prayer, reflective — should be pointed out at the 
practice in order to secure a natural interpretation of its 
meaning. Reading the words aloud — with careful elocu- 
tion — will often help the choir to give an effective and 
realistic rendering of a hymn. Xo pains should be spared 
to secure good hymn-singing. It holds a high place in 
congregational worship, and is worthy of careful and 
constant practice. 

It is desirable to have variety at the practice. Hymn- 
singing will become tiring if kept at too long. It should 
be relieved with other work, and the hymns distributed 
throughout the rehearsal and not all taken at the beginning. 

Blending of voices. One of the chief faults common to 
voluntary choirs is that the voices do not blend. One 
shrill, nasal, or otherwise unpleasant voice will spoil a 
choir. The suppression of such a one may be attended 
with some difficulty, and possibly, unpleasantness. Eut 
the choirmaster must not shrink from doing his duty. He 
must " peg away," and not rest satisfied till all the voices 
blend. He must be very particular — almost fastidious — 
in everything, and should work up to a high standard of 
excellence. He should not name anyone for faults at the 
practices. Personal reference should be carefully avoided. 
Eut he may give^hints as broad and hard-hitting as he 
likes, provided they are inoffensive aud in good taste. 

46 roiniox PRAISE. 

Shouting, or nasal singing should be promptly checked. 
A good forte can be obtained without forcing the voices. 
A full, round tone both in p and / passages, should be 
cultivated. One common fault in choirs is that singers do 
not open their mouths sufficiently when they sing. Such 
errors often become chronic unless the choirmaster per- 
sistently calls attention to them. 

Precision is of the utmost importance. A limp, flabby 
choir is painful to listen to, and useless for leading. 
There are generally two or three "slow-coaches" in every 
choir who think they are doing very well if they are 
not more than half-a-beat behind the others. Such 
drones must be whipped up, and not spared in the least. 
Dragging is simply intolerable. The choir should be 
trained to keep together, and the choirmaster should 
go over the same tune, or piece, or even a single bar, 
again and again — twenty times if necessary — till the 
whole choir sing as with one voice. Precision must be 
insisted upon always — whether in a simple hymn-tune or 
a complicated anthem — and no pains or patience spared to 
acquire this excellent and essential qualification. 

Attach is of equal importance. In the absence of a 
conductor the start of the hymns, &c, is attended with 
some difficulty. A simple plan is just to touch the treble 
starting note a little — less than half-a-beat — before the com- 
plete initial chord. The anticipated note should only be 
necessary for the first verse ; for the remainder of the 
hymn the choir should come in immediately after the first 
chord, which, on the instrument, may be held a trifle 
longer than it ought to be. These starts should be 
practised repeatedly till the choir quite understand them. 
"When the offices of organist and choirmaster are separate, 
and unless the choirmaster can be seen at the services by 
both organist and choir, the organist must start the choir 
at rehearsals in the way indicated above. Each division 

of the choir should find its starting note from the final 


chord of the tune when played over, and keep it in mind 
so as to enter at once on the right note with firmness and 

In anthems, or in pieces commencing on ^accented 
beats (when there is no conductor or instrumental prelude) 
the key- chord may be struck at the beginning of the bar. 
This preliminary chord will notify the commencement of 
the silent beats, and the choir — having previously risen — 
will enter in strict time. Examples in triple and quadruple 
time— Stainer's " "What are these?" Macfarren's " The 
Lord is my Shepherd." In all these starts there must be 
a clear understanding between the organist and choir, and 
the plan agreed upon at rehearsal must be strictly adhered to, 
or any difference of opinion may cause serious confusion, 
and possibly a collapse. In this, as in other matters, the 
importance of the choir-practice cannot be over-estimated. 

Rhythm and Accent. Special attention must be given 
to these frequently neglected matters. The different 
rhythms should be carefully explained to the choir, and 
illustrated with examples ; and they (the choir) should be 
so thoroughly inoculated, as it were, with rhythmic 
virus as to feel the natural and regular pulsations of the 
music. If this is done intelligently, accent will follow 
as a matter of course. Rhythmical accent is indispensable 
to congregational music. It prevents dragging to a very 
great extent, and if resolutely persisted in, the con- 
gregation must follow. The lead of the choir should be 
sharp, emphatic, and resolute, and this may be acquired 
by the study and practice of rhythm and accent. 

Phrasing is another necessary attribute of a good choir. 
Technically it includes accent, but, broadly speaking, 
in vocal music it means " taking breath." Instrumentalists 
generally phrase better than vocalists. The great Malibran 
said to one of her finishing pupils, "I have taught you 
all I know, but now you must go and listen to my 
husband's (De Reriot) violin playing for lessons in 


phrasing." Good phrasing is one test of musicianship. 
To a great extent it is a natural gift, but undoubtedly it 
may be acquired by careful study. Everything depends 
upon the choirmaster for good phrasing. He must be 
able to show the choir how to do it, and if they are at 
all intelligent they will readily acquire it. It is impossible, 
within the limits of this work, to give detailed rules or 
examples in phrasing. Much may be learned by a study 
of M. Lussy's "Musical Expression."* 

However, it must always be borne in mind that in 
hymn-singing the elocutionary accent must over-ride the 
musical. Example, " Sun of my soul," to Sir II. Oakeley's 
lovely tune "Abends" (H. A. & M.). Verse 1, line 2 ; 
would be musically phrased, "It is not night — if Thou 
be near ; " but it would be nonsense to phrase some of the 
following verses in the same way ; for example, v. 2, " My 
wearied eye — lids gently steep." In this particular tune 
each phrase-section consists of four notes, but breath- 
places have frequently to be altered to suit the words. 
Some may be inclined to say that this is going into the 
matter too minutely, and that broad effects are more to be 
desired in congregational singing than finished details. But 
if a thing is worth doing at all it is worth doing well. 
Phrasing in music corresponds with grammar in speech. 
If grammatical speaking is desirable in the pulpit, surely 
grammatical singing is desirable in the choir. . Besides, 
whatever the choir do the congregation will follow. The 
choir should educate the people up, not down. Neatness 
and finish in phrasing give a polish and refinement to the 
music, and the time devoted to its cultivation will be time 
well spent. (See chapters V and XL) 

Expression, or variety in tone, comes under the head of 
phrasing, but it will be referred to in the following chapter 
on Congregational hymn-singing. 

It will interest and, at the same time, elucatc the choir 

• London : Novello & Co. 


to call attention to any specialities in the technical and 
artistic construction of the music under rehearsal. And it 
will also help to take the music beyond the region of mere 
signs — crotchets and quavers — and make it a more living 
and real thing ; and there is no need to go beyond the 
range of ordinary hymn-tunes to furnish examples as the 
following will show. 

Imitation between the different parts may be illustrated 
by "Tallis Canon" (23*), the canon between S. and T. ; 
also by Sir A. Sullivan's fine tune "St. Gertrude" (Church 
Hymns) to " Onward, Christian soldiers." the interchange 
of the S. and T. parts in lines 1 and 3, which is a mild 
species of " double counterpoint." Sequences may be 
exampled by " St, Matthias " (28. 2nd tune), 3rd line of 
words ; also " Dominus regit me " (197), 3rd line of words. 
Melody of inner parts. Examples: "IJicae" (160), A. and T., 
against holding notes of S. and B. ; " Maidstone" (240), 
duets between S. and A., and T. and E., especially in last 
line; " Nun danket" (379% tenor melody of last line; 
" Irby " (329) melodious tenor part throughout, and duet 
between T. and B. in last two lines. Discords, and the 
reason why they should often be accented, should likewise 
be explained. Example, " Day of rest" (271), the discord 
on the -4th chord, notice how naturally it falls on the 
words "I," "feel," "hear," "Thou," "see," in each 
verse. The list may be extended ad infinitum, but enough 
has been given to prove that even the practice of hymn- 
tunes may be made interesting and profitable. 

It is desirable for the choir to get thoroughly familiar 
with the music they sing. Singing from memory, even 
simple and well-known tunes, is not sufficiently cultivated. 
The practice-time is often so limited, and there is — or 
ought to be— so much to do, that the choir should be 
encouraged to familiarize themselves with the music as much 
as possible at home. Each member should only be allowed 

• The numbers refer to " Hymns Ancient and Modern," revised edition. 



to take away his numbered copy and no other, and be made 
responsible for its return. 

There should be an understanding as to when the choir 
are to rise to sing at the services. The tune should be 
played over immediately before it is to be sung, and the 
choir should all stand up together at (about) the penultimate 
chord, so as to be prepared for a good start. 

Punctuality, both at services and practices, should be 
strongly insisted upon. In churches where the choir seats 
are in full view of the congregation it looks very 
undignified for some of the leaders of the praise-service to 
arrive late. Better for them to be five minutes too soon 
than one minute too late. It is well for the choir to meet 
before the service in a room near the choir seats, and for 
all to file in together. This is much more orderly than 
straggling in one by one, and it gives the choirmaster an 
opportunity of meeting the choir collectively, and 
reminding them (if necessary) of any important feature 
in the service. This excellent arrangement has been in 
operation at Christ Church, "Westminster Eoad, for the 
past ten years, and with good results. 

Choirs in Nonconformist churches have a bad reputation 
for talking during the service. It is often done through 
thoughtlessness, but it soon becomes a habit which may 
be difficult to cure. However, the choirmaster must 
repeatedly call attention to it till it is stopped, and remind 
the offenders that it is wrong, besides being undignified 
and childish. There will probably be more behaviour 
critics than musical in a congregation, and it will be well 
for the choirmaster to keep this possibility well before 
his choir. 

It should not be forgotten that the choir-practice must be 
made attractive and interesting, or it will be almost 
impossible to keep up the attendance. Many singers 
think that the practice of hymn-tunes and other familiar 
church music is child's play and not worth any trouble. 


They think they know all about it, and that there is 
nothing new to be learnt. It is of no use to tell them they 
are mistaken, means must be taken to gild their imaginary 
pill. And this may effectually and pleasantly be done by 
practising- sacred music — anthems and easy choruses — 
other than the service music, and some secular part-songs 
of a high class. "Unaccompanied part-singing is a pleasant 
and profitable exercise in expression and blending of 
voices, and should be regularly introduced at the rehearsals. 

As before mentioned, these extra pieces may be of useful 
service at conversaziones, church socials, and especially for 
concerts to the poor. There are few church choirs that 
could not do some really good work in this latter direction. 
For three winters my choir have given concerts to the 
poor in the E. and S E. of London, and at our own 
Mission Hall, and, to judge from a repetition of the 
invitations, with great acceptance. "We undertook the 
entire programme — solos and concerted music. The 
pleasure of giving the concerts was delightful, and the 
"something to do" in the preparation for them was 
beneficial to the choir in every way. It first arose from a 
suggestion of our minister, Dr. Monro Gibson, who 
thought the choir might do some " Mission work," and it 
has proved to be mission work of a very enjoyable kind. 

Mendelssohn used frequently to say to his pianoforte 
pupils when they were playing to him, "Be bright!" 
This advice may well be given to choirmasters and choirs 
at the rehearsals. When the interest of the practice is 
seeming to flag, take up something new, or some popular 
anthem or part-song, and the effect will be magical. It 
will prove an excellent tonic to everybody. A musical 
anecdote, or some little story from the life of one of the 
composers, or the period at which he lived, will always 
give variety and interest to the practice. 13y all means 
avoid dulness and formality. 

Generally speaking, the choir will reflect the personality 
of the choirmaster. If he has pleasant genial manners, 


is enthusiastic, painstaking, and persevering, the choir 

will naturally, almost unconsciously, assimilate these 
qualities. If, on the other hand, he is dull, morose and 
lazy, his choir — if he can keep one— will he inanimate 
likewise. The choirmaster should he head and shoulders 
above his choir in a musical sense. He should always 
keep his temper, hut be firm, and enforce discipline. He 
should always he courteous, and kind to a fault. Let him 
show the choir that while he must be very critical, lie 
appreciates all good, earnest work. He should be grateful 
to them for all the help they give him ; and he should so 
manage and conduct the rehearsal that the choir will 
regret its termination, and that he may be able con- 
scientiously to say, " Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, 
for your kind and patient attention." 




The question " Have you a Hymn and Tune Booh in 
one?" was answered thus :— " Yes," 94. "No," 132. 
The affirmative replies came almost exclusively from 
Presbyterian and Wesleyan Churches. 

The question "Do yon invariably keep the same hymn to 
the same time?" was answered thus: — "Yes," 101. 
"No," 125. Many of the former are qualified with 
" nearly always ; " "as much as possible ; " " special and 
peculiar metres." 

Subjoined are some of the replies : — 

' ' I attach great importance to this ; but many ministers 
ring the changes on such a limited selection of hymns that it 
is difficult and monotonous." [This complaint occurs over 
and over again.] 

" It is our ideal, but wo have not quite attained to it. There 
are a few characterless hymns which may be sung to almost 
any tune, but had better be sung to none." [This from a 

"Yes. Except very rarely when the hymn is asked for 
without notice, and the tune is unknown." 

" I believe in associating a tune with a hymn so that one 
shall recall the other. I have to change the tunes sometimes 
because some are such rubbish that they are not worth the 
paper they are printed on." [Wesleyan.] 


" Yes ; and I think it a very good plan. I keep a hymn- 
book which I mark with tunes that are suitable." [Baptist.] 

"No. The same tune is repeated in the book, and cases 
have arisen where two hymns selected by the minister are 
both written to the same tune. [Wesleyan Hymn-book.] 

" No. The same hymn constantly recurs in many cases. 
We have a different minister every Sunday. ' ' [The difficulties 
of the repetition of tunes in the Wesleyan Hynm-book, the 
constant change of ministers, and the limited selection of 
hymns is frequently referred to by Wesleyan organists.] 

The question " Bo you think the fixed tune system (as in 
'Hymns Ancient and Modern') desirable; or do you prefer 
to have a separate tune-book?" was answered as follows: 
" Fixed tune system," 91. " Separate tune-book," 123. 

Subjoined are specimens of the pros and cons. 

' ' The fixed tune system is certainly convenient, but it is 
sometimes very irksome. A minister who does not make a 
study of the tunes as well as the hymns may give out one, 
two, or even three hymns all set to the same tune." 

" No. I prefer to adapt the music to the hymns myself." 

" I prefer a separate book, but I don't think it produces the 
best results." 

"Prefer an eclectic choice. We use ' Allon's Psalmist,' 
< Bristol,' and ' H. A. & M.' " 

" We use two ' Bristols ' and a MS. book. When the 
number of tune announced is over 1,000, the people know 
that it is in the MS. book." 

" No fixed tune system I have seen satisfies me, any more 
than any one tune-book contains all the tunes I should like 
to introduce." 

"Certainly a hymn should have its special tune, at the 
same time I prefer a separate book — or books." 

" I prefer a hymn and tune book in one, but cut across so 
that any tune could be used to any hymn." [Several similar 

" No. Because the ministers frequently choose the same 
hymn on consecutive Sundays, thereby causing the same tune 
to be sung too often." [This is a frequent objection.] 

"Yes. 'Hymns A. & M.' is a splendid book, and 
the expression marks make it perfect. I should like 
every denominational book done in the same way." 


' ' I think the fixed tune system very desirable. It seems 
a pity that the choosing of tunes should be left to the caprice 
of often incompetent choirmasters." 

" Yes; especially when the tune and words are so wedded 
together (as most in Sullivan's 'Church Hymns') that to 
separate them would bo divorce." 

" It is decidedly best for the congregation to have the tunes 
and hymns always fixed, but it sometimes gets monotonous 
when one is repeated often." 

"For my own part I prefer the fixed tune system, 
and shall certainly adopt it if possible, for I think our con- 
gregational singing would be improved and a love of music 
cultivated in the minds of our young people. I may also 
venture to saj- that every member of the congregation would 
then possess a copy, and consequently we should probably 
have some good singers spread over all parts of the church." 

"We use ' Church Praise,' which is very good and_better 
than a separate tune book." 

" Yes. Music and words well fitted together seem to me 
the right and proper thing. I could give many instances 
from my own experience where certain tunes are associated 
with sacred words, and cannot be separated from them without 
causing one to feel that a mistake has been committed." 

" I have grown to like the fixed-tune system, "and I think, 
for the sake of association, it is better." 

" I like fixed tunes, as then, the people t may start^a tune 
almost anywhere." 

" Fixed- tune system vastly preferable,* as generally 
securing proper adaptation and other advantages in the way 
of cultivating and educating the taste of the congregation, 
and enabling them to take part with ease in the service of 
praise from previous) familiarity with the same hymn and 

' ' Xo. I use the ' Bristol,' ' H. A. & M. ," Church Hymns,' 
'TheHymnary,' 'TVesleyan Tune Book,' 'Church Praise,' Dr. 
Allon's 'School Book,' and our own 'Methodist Free Church 
Book.' " [Total = Eight.] 

The important question " Roughly speaking, ivhat 
proportion of the congregation use Tune Books?" received 
195 answers, which have been carefully summarized as 


None 27 

" Very few ; " " Infinitesimal." ) g5 

1, 2, or 3 per cent. j 

5 to 7£ „ ,. 21 

10 to 12J- „ „ 16 

15 „ „ 7 

20 to 25 ,, ,, 15 

30 to 33 „ „ 17 

40 to 50 ,, „ 14 

65 to 75 ,, ,, 4 

" Fair proportion ;" " Considerable number." 5 

" Nearly all;" " The majority." 4 

In connection with these statistics, attention is directed 

to the fact that out of 195 congregations, 151 return 

25 7 an d under, and 92 of these — nearly two-thirds — are 

returned " none " and "under 3 %." The number of 

congregations returning 30 °/ and upwards (including 

"fair proportion," &c), is only 44. But of these no 

less than 30 are either Presbyterian (26) or Wesley an (4) 

churches using books which t have words and music on 

the same page. Opponents of the fixed-tune system 

please read, mark, and learx. 

Specimen replies : — 

"Hymn books are provided by the chapel authorities on 
loan — free to everybody." [Wesleyan.] 

" Our ministers don't give me their hymns till service 
time, and therefore I cannot publish them to the congre- 
gation. This wants altering very much in Wesleyan 

"None. We use too many tune books. We have both 
editions of the 'Bristol Tune-book,' 'Hymns Ancient and 
Modern,' ' Cheetham's Psalmody,' and a MS. book for any 
good tunes we come across." [A similar reply, as to the use 
of several books frequently occurs.] 

"None! They never know where the tune would bo 

" Microscopic. The fewer the better." 

"Not a dozen out of a congregation of 500. The ministers 


do not like announcing the tune, and therefore the people do 
not trouble about it." 

" Very few. The tune books are conspicuous by their 

The question " Do you ever use the Moody and Sanhey 
pieces ?" was answered thus: — "Yes," 54. " No," 
136. 36 did not reply. Of the "yeas" many add 
"very seldom," and similar qualifications. There is a 
very strong feeling against the use of these tunes on the 
part of the organists and choirmasters. Many of the 
replies are more forcible than elegant, so it is perhaps 
better not to quote them. The following is a mild 
specimen, and is penned by a minister: — 

" No Moody and Sankey at any price. Whatever may be 
the advantages of these and similar pieces for Mission 
services, they are ill-adapted for the worship-music of 
cultured congregations." 

The question " Do you succeed in infusing much 
expression into the singing of hymns ?" being addressed to 
the organists and choirmasters of the several churches, is 
naturally a very delicate one, and it has received so many 
qualified and modest answers that any statistics would 
hardly give the exact results obtained in this direction. 
Judging from the very large number of " we try to," and 
" fairly so," and the comparatively few outspoken 
"yeas," expression is not much infused into hymn-singing, 
at all events, so far as regards the congregations. The 
quotations which follow will be of more real value 
than a summary of the replies. 

" Xot satisfactory. The congregation seem to have no 
idea of expression whatever, and therefore our efforts are not 
of much use." 

" Very little. The hymns are not decided upon until a 
few minutes before service time, and it is difficult to choose 
appropriate tunes in time without having to give directions 
to the choir as to the way to render them." 

" Yes. Our book — ' Church Praise ' — is well marked, 
which helps us very much." 


"Only last Sunday I would fain have silenced the organ 
for a few bars in order to restrain a bass singer who roared 
' I arn full of sin,' as if he gloried in being so." 

" Fairly so. Our congregation and choir are, musically 
speaking, tolerably educated, and answer reasonably well to 
the expression indicated by the organist." 

" Not very much. Both choir and people seem to lose in 
earnestness and to get slow and sleepy when the music gets 
soft. Besides, there are no marks of expression in our 
books. That is a want." 

"Yes. The choir are very amenable to the necessity of 
giving proper expression, and have attained considerable 
perfection in the art of singing softly when required. I have 
no difficulty in giving them the ' tip ' during the singing of 
a hymn, if not before." 

" I find that whatever expression the choir may put into 
their singing, it is all lost by the overpowering congre- 
gational singing." 

" Not much. The organ does most of the expression." 

"The 'hearty' singing amongst Methodists sometimes 
interferes with expression as regards the congregation." 

" Yery little indeed, chiefly on account of the great weight 
of the congregational singing. The parson talks enough 
about soul, but he fails to make them have one for music." 

"We endeavour to do so, and I honestly think we manage 
it fairly well. The object I set before myself is to get at 
the meaning of the psalms and hymns, and through the 
choir convey that meaning to the congregation. The choir 
have no difficulty in carrying the people on, and the 
congregation have become accustomed to my style, and 
follow very well indeed." 

" I may say our choir sing very expressively, and when 
the congregation knoiu the tune they catch up the points very 
well, as we have ' marks of expression ' in our book. At 
first the expression was almost ludicrous, but now we have 
overcome the mechanical part." 

" This is our special feature. Singing without it is brutal, 
insulting alike to writer and composer." 

"I believe so, as I have heard some members of the 
church say that the singing has done them more good than 
the preaching." 

' ' I endeavour to make a great point in this matter. I 
have a plan of communicating my wishes by a slight tap of 
the foot which is felt (!) by the whole of the choir, though 
unobserved by the congregation." 

"The choir succeed tolerably in doing so in cases when the 


hymn greatly depends on expression, but, as a rule, our 
singing is too loud and expressionless." 

" I find the congregation influenced completely by the 
choir and organ. If the organ is loudly played, they sing 
out as well as they can, but if the organ is soft, a great 
number cease singing altogether." 

"Yes; and the congregation, being an educated one, 
responds very quickly to any hint or suggestion coming from 
the choir and organ with regard to the delivery of particular 

" The choir follow the expression marks which are put 
alongside every hymn, and the congregation follow fairly 
well. But a sudden pp by the choir means full stop to list* n 
by the people." 

' ' We are improving in this direction, and think there is 
room for it in many of our churches." 

"Yes. I spend a great deal of time in marking expression 
in our hymn-books, so that the choir are prepared for any 
changes, &c." 

" I am very watchful and careful in giving expression in 
my playing. The expression marks for all special hymns 
are indicated in the choir books. Unfortunately our new 
Wesleyan hymn-book is entirely devoid of such marks." 

" I find it very difficult to do so with them collectively. I 
think hymn-books should be fully marked with all p's and/'s 
&c, as in ' Hymns Ancient and Modern.' " 

" Yes. I make it a specialite, and as far as we are able 
to convey a devotional, artistic, and unexaggerated rendering 
of the writer's sentiments we all do our best. "Wrong 
phrasing of words is, I am proud to say, almost unknown 
to us." 

The questions "Is the singing of your congregation satis- 
factory f If not, does it lack quantity or quality '<?" have 
received such a variety of replies that it is almost impossible 
to classify them. However, to put it mildly, a large 
majority infer that there is room for improvement. The 
following selection of replies will be read with interest : — 

"The singing is pretty general, but it is too loud, rough, 
and uncultured." 

"There is much to be desired, for when a tune is well 
known it is sung so heartily as to make it slightly offensive, 
as no great attention is paid to the meaning of the words. 
When not known the sin^-mor is weak." 


"Plenty of quantity, but poor qualit}\ They call it 
' hearty singing.' " 

" No, not hearty enough, and when it is hearty it is all 
wrong as far as accent is concerned." 

"It almost appears to me that our congregation only sing 
when they please, and not systematically from a sense of duty 
or love of music. Wesleyans as a body do not perhaps 
attach sufficient importance to music in Divine worship, and 
our congregations are very lethargic in such matters." 

" Lacks both. Have tried to induce the congregation to 
attend practices, but for the most part failed. It is uphill 
work. Lack of interest." 

"If the tune be a familiar one, our congregation join in 
heartily, and there is certainly no lack of quantity, but there 
is a great tendency to dragging. I think this is owing to a 
want of feeling for rhythm, as they dwell too heavily on 
every note, and thus sing without the slightest suspicion of 

"Very satisfactory, and always improving in heartiness 
since the organ was introduced." 

" The universal hindrance — mental laziness — is always in 
the way." 

"With an increasing knowledge of music on the part of 
young members there is a yearly improvement ; but the 
1 room for improvement'' is still the largest in the universe." 

"When the church is only half filled the people will 
not sing." 

" Were the organ and choir placed downstairs in front of 
the congregation instead of opposite the pulpit as at present, 
the chances of the congregation dragging would be much 

" We have quantity — quality doubtful. The drawback is 
in some of the old tunes which are favourites with the ' old 
stagers.' They like them so well, that they treat them as the 
small boy does his toffy- stick— make it last as long as 

"The congregation sing very heartily and pay close 
attention to the leading of the choir in the matter of 
expression. The result, I should say, is above the average." 

" We have any amount of quantity — too much some- 

"Wants quantity, quality, energy, and interest." [Several 
similar replies.] 

"Yes, very. Our congregation has always been noted as 
a well-sung congregation, and I am bound to admit that 
they do appreciate expressive singing, and take an important 
part in making it so." 


"It improves, and is considered good. We wish quantity 
as the first element, quality can better wait, but we aim at 
both." [From a minister.] 

The questions " Are you troubled with flattening and 

dragging? If so, have you formed any opinion as to their 
causes?" received many valuable replies, of which a 
selection is here appended. 

"To avoid dragging I sometimes take my hands off the 
keys, for no one likes to hear his voire without the organ, so 
they keep well up. In regard to flattening I believe, as a 
rule, it is through taking the tunes too slowly. "When I hear 
a tendency to flatten I quicken the pace a little which causes 
them to sing with a little more spirit, and the pitch comes all 

" Xo, because we neither sing too loud, nor too fast. 
These are the chief causes of flattening and dragging." 

"Dragging yes, principally with old and well-known 
tunes. This habit appears to me to spring from the want of 
independent almost inevitably found in untrained singers." 

" Tunes in triple time usually drag more or less." 

"One member Hat will influence the whole choir." 
[Perfectly true.] 

"We frequently have dragging. I attribute this entirely 
to the misplacing of the organ and choir, singing from the 
back gallery. The sound must take time to reach those 
sitting below the gallery." [Organ in gallery opposite the 

"Dragging is largely, I believe, owing to careless 
accentuation. Mr. Ourwen in his Sol-fa Educators makes 
much of accent in tunes, and I am sure greater attention to 
it would largely do away with dragging." 

" Dragging, yes. The persistent efforts of persons in the 
congregation who from early associations have contracted the 
habit of dragging, who have strong voices, and will be 
neither convinced nor persuaded that the habit is wrong." 

"Dragging arises from the fact that many people seem 
to think it pious to sing slowly. And the slower the organ 
and choir take a tunc the slower still will some of the people 
sing it." [A minister.] 

"We think good, lively singing by the choir the best 

"Yes. Meteorological conditions and slurred notes. 
Dragging is an ingrained vice in some temperaments." [A 


"It is a curious fact that 'flattening' was more observable 
after my organ was tuned to equal temperament, which 
theorists say would have an opposite effect. Frequent 
singing unaccompanied is the best drill for curing ' flatness.' " 

"Yes, partly caused by the sing-song style of singing 
adopted at smaller meetings and prayer meetings becoming 
stereotyped on the congregation." 

" Only at morning services, which I think is caused in a 
large measure by late rising." 

" Not much. The congregation have a tendency to drag, 
but if the choir mark the rhythm, and the tempo is held by 
firm chords on the organ, the pace may be kept up. It 
seems to me that due attention to the rhythm helps much in 
preventing dragging." 

"Flattening is caused by bodily disorders, stooping 
position while singing, imperfectly opening the mouth, 
indifference to what is going on, lack of natural vigour, &c." 

" The mode of playing the organ is sometimes the cause 
of dragging. Tunes with several repetitions of the same 
chord are sure to be dragged." 

' ' Very rarely troubled with dragging. When such is the 
case I make them (the choir) sing the next verse half as fast 
again in unison." 

" If the bass is particularly low, flattening ensues." 

" Drill the choir well, and sing rather too quickly than too 

" f blame my inefficient basses, who are so uncertain, that 
having once got a note correctly, they are unwilling to leave 

" Occasionally dragging. Causes : inefficiency of organist, 
and sometimes carelessness of choir." [A minister.] 

" Flattening, caused by tenors forcing their voices." 

" We notice that we almost invariably flatten upon tunes 
in the key of G major." [Yorkshire choir of 42 voices.] 

" Dragging caused by (1) want of brightness in ' giving 
out ' the tune by organist; (2) spiritless hymns ; (3) listless- 
ness on part of congregation." 

" I find a heavy sermon will cause flatness. I stand facing 
congregation with choir on both sides and I beat time in full 
view of all, though not ostentatiously, so we seldom, if ever 
drag." [No organ. Choir of 60.] 

" Our American organ is not strong enough, and the choir 
not large enough to lead, and if the people sing out they can 
have it all their own way." 

" Flattening is sometimes caused by careless singing, but 
much oftener by unvocal arrangements of tunes, and phj-sical 
exhaustion through singing too many verses." 


"I believe the effectual remedy for dragging is for the 
organist to keep resolutely to the correct pace, and not (as is 
often done} to play the first verse too fast." 

"As to flattening, (1) many tunes are 'pitched' so that 
the tenor — for example — may have repeated notes at the 
break of the voice. (2) Insufficient breath. This is a feature 
in singing that is only beginning to be studied, man}' ladies 
and gentlemen cannot hold a tone for ten seconds." 

" Dragging ensues when the hymn is of a didactic or 
unsympathetic character." 

" lihythmical feeling is the best mechanical antidote for 

" No. We were formerly. When I found it occurring wc 
sang and played in a dashing, staccato manner, which would 
at once sharpen and brighten the congregation. They very 
soon knew what we were after and came up with us. It is a 
capital plan." 

" I am of opinion that the organist has a great responsibility 
in this matter. If he has a sufficiently large organ and good 
judgment in using it. backed up by a good choir, he ought to 
be able to effectively control both time and pitch." 

The question " Have you tried antiphonal singing of the 
hymns, men alternating verse ly verse with women, children 
with adults, choir with congregation, 8fC?" was answered as 
follows: -Yes," 31; " No," 195. 

Specimens of the replies here follow : — 

" Xo ; our congregation are adverse to what they call 
' dramatical singing. 5 '" 

" No. Not a bad idea at all." 

"It was tried, but the men's voices in a country place are 
rather rough to be pleasant in singing alone." 

"No. But 1 make a liberal use of unison singing, and 
with impressive effect." 

•■ We sometimes have a verse, or part of a verse, by 
sopranos alone." 

" I think it very effective when the hymns are suitable." 

"No. Any such attempt would be stigmatised as 
' Ritualistic' ' the thin end of the wedge,' &c, &c. I have 
no doubt you know the sort of complaint from which a 
certain class of pious people suffer." 

" No. iiut we often sing verses in unison with free organ 

" Yes, in such hymns as " Come praise your Lord and 
Saviour," and " The strain upraise." We also chant the 
psalms antiphonally, and find the effect most satisfactory." 


" We often have trebles only for one verse (words being 
suitable), and again tenors and basses in unison, and some- 
times all the voices in unison. The effect is very good 
when the harmony is altered in the accompaniment." 

"Yes. Men alternating with women." 

" Occasionally. . . Some time since I dispatched a 
portion of the choir to the extreme end of upper gallery 
from whence they sang a refrain pp." 

" The choir sing one hymn antiphonally at each service." 

" Only in such hymns as are so marked in our hymnal — 
* Church Praise.' " 

" We have tried it with the exception of the last arrange- 
ment. W"e think that it adds greatly to the effect of some 
hymns, the verses of which are widely different. When a 
calm, soft expression is needed, sometimes the women only 
sing, and when a bold, martial tone is needed the men sing 
in unison." 

The question "Have you ever tried dispersing the choir 
among the congregation, or leaving several choirs which talce 
turn, month ly month, to sit in the choir seats?" was 
answered thus :— " Yes," 20 ; " No," 210. 

Specimen replies : — 

" We have tried the system of two choirs, but we think 
one choir, where all the members have a common interest in 
the church's welfare and think it an honour to belong to the 
choir, works best. This is certainly our experience." 

" The month by month system was tried here, but was a 
complete failure." [Large London church.] 

"No. While we have so much difficulty in keeping up 
our present small numbers, such an idea— though very good 
— is impracticable." [This reply occurs over and over 

" No. Such a course would have a tendency to destroy 
the esprit de corps of the choir, and lead to confusion." 
[Occurs several times.] 

" This was tried, but without much effect. A j>ermanent 
choir is the most satisfactory." [Large London Presbyterian 

" We call by circular a choir of 30 for each month, the 
other members are dispersed throughout the congregation." 

The "relief," or "double choir" is almost exclusively 

a Scotch custom, where the choirs, in many instances, are 

larger than in England. 


The question " Is a children's hymn ever introduced 
into the ordinary services?" was answered thus: — 
" Occasionally," "very seldom," &c, 28; "Yes," 59; 
"No," 133. 

Most of the latter add " only at special children's 
services," "anniversaries," &c; but the question specially 
said "ordinary services." Many of the "yeas" are 
qualified with "at the morning service only." It may be 
of interest to call attention to the fact that of the 59 
affirmative replies, no less than 33 are from the various 
Presbyterian Churches, whose hymn -books are well 
supplied with words and music specially adapted for 

Specimens of the replies here follow : — 

" Always in the morning at the conclusion of the 
children's address." [Several similar replies.] 

" On the second Sunday in each month the whole morning 
service is for children." 

" No. It is a good idea." 

"No. Children seem to be forgotten altogether except 
once a year at the Sunday School Anniversary." 

" Children's sermon but not hymn." 

" Yes. It is much appreciated." 

The question " Have you a congregational practice?" 
was answered thus : — "Yes," 29; "No," 195. Many of 
the former are qualified with "occasionally." 

Here are some of the replies — 

" We have tried in vain to get the people out." [This 
answer is constantly given.] 

" The congregation is 'respectfully invited,' &c., but very 
few come." [This answer occurs over and over again.] 

" I have had three. Average attendance — myself and 
choir:' [!] 

" We attempted this about four years ago and succeeded 
for a time, but the attendance gradually fell off, and after 
some time ceased." [Similar replies very frequently occur.] 

''Yes. Monthly, in the winter, after Sunday evening 

" No. We tried it once. Out of a congregation of 1,200 
about 30 came to the first practice, about 20 to the next, and 
9 to the third and last." 


" Yes. No one comes." 

" Yes. It is held for a few weeks at the beginning of 
each winter season." 

"Yes, on Sunday mornings." [Wales.] 

" Yes, but out of a congregation of 1,200, only about 50 
or 60 attend the practice." 

" Yes, once a month. Minister takes the chair." All 
new tunes are first tried at them." [Large London 
(suburban) church.] 

The question " Have you a Choral Society or Psalmody 
Association in connection with your church ; if so, do its 
meetings interfere with or supersede the ordinary choir 
practices?" was answered as follows— "No," 180; "Yes," 
34; " Classes for instruction," 12. Of the affirmative 
replies, "It does interfere," 4; "Supersedes separate 
choir practice," 14 ; " Does not interfere," 16. 

Quotations from the replies follow : — 

" The choral society helps the choir." 

" Our weekly choir practice is really a choral society. A 
gentleman connected with the choir teaches a * popular 
music class ' in our Church Hall. Secular pieces are sung, 
and the rudiments taught. This has been for two years a 
great success. Last year over 100 attended (150 enrolled). 
This year 250 enrolled and average attendance of about 200. 
There is a mere nominal fee— one shilling for the season. 
The teacher is popular, indefatigable, and thoroughly up to 
his work, and I believe the effect on our psalmody will be 
good." [Glasgow; 60 in choir; congregation of 900 to 

" For a number of years we have had a singing class in 
connection with the Sunday School, which serves the 
purpose of a nursery for the choir. We have found this a 
very valuable society, and its meetings do not interfere with 
our choir practices." 

" We have had spasmodic attempts, but till this winter 
the difficulty has been that so few have read music with 
anything like confidence and correctness. We have now a 
class of 46, three or four times as large as anyone expected, 
consequently no loss financially. We hope to turn out 
about 40 readers, 30 of whom will be our own people." 
[From a minister.] 

" A junior class has recently been formed under the 
direction of two members of the senior choir, one acting as 


conductor, the other as accompanist. Average attendance, 
35 (girls, 25, hoys, 10); average age, 12 years. They are 
practising a .simple cantata and several part-songs. It is 
expected that this junior choir will be a very valuable 
adjunct to the senior choir.' 1 

" No. "We have abundant evidence to make us believe 
thai Psalmody Associations are hurtful rather than helpful, 
in the majority of instances, to the interests of the music. 
They only too often cause friction and irritation by 
unnecessary interferences with the choir." [Glasgow.] 

" We have had a Choral Society. Sometimes it brings 
members to the choir, but it often interferes with the choir 
practice, as persons in business have a difficulty in attending 
more than once a week. If we could get congregations and 
singers to consider congregational music to be as worthy of 
study as choral society music, I think we should find the 
singing of choirs and congregations improve." 

" A Psalmody Association was formed last winter (no sign 
of it this), and it very much interfered with the choir 
practice. Unless the choir assisted at the practisings there 
was little work done, and we could not expect the choir to 
give two evenings a week to singing psalm and hymn 
tunes." [A similar reply occurs several times.] 

"I have found a Theory Class for the young — from 10 
to 16 years of age — of great value. I have carried it on for 
the last two years, four months at a time. I taught them 
the old notation from a large blackboard, and I got MS. 
books in which they had to take down everything I said and 
wrote. Progress was slow at first, but I found it sure. I 
gave them a little analysis of chords, and some who had 
been at both sessions could set down any major or minor 
chord, and also the dominant 7th. I also made them write 
the solfeggi syllables to^every piece'I wrote down on the 
board. . . It is to the young that we must look for 
having good and true singing in the future." 

The questions " Are the Hymns and Tunes fixed for each 
month, printed and circulated among the congregation?' 1 ' 1 
" Do you think such a plan desirable ?" had an important 
omission. The first one should have read — " Are the 
Hymns and Tunes — except the hymn after the sermon — fixed 
for each month, etc.?" The consequence is many object to 
the plan on the ground that, ''Ministers do not select 
their subjects so long in advance." As the question 


was a little misleading it will hardly serve any purpose to 
give statistics, but a few quotations may be useful. 

11 The only point that would be gained is that the congrega- 
tion would have a chance to become more familiar with the 
tunes." [And a good point too.] 

' ' Before we introduce a new tune it is announced from the 
pulpit at least one week previous to its being used, so as to 
give all who wish the opportunity to learn it." 

"No. I only wish they were." [A similar reply is 
frequently given.] 

" Advertised every Saturday in local paper." [Minister.] 

" We never get the hymns (as a rule) until five minutes 
before service." 

" I have found the congregation to take great interest in 
the hymns and tunes when they have been published in the 
monthly magazine." 

" This is not done, but it seems such an excellent idea that 
I shall do my best to carry it out." 

' ' Yery desirable. But at Wesleyan chapels where the 
minister changes his place of service week by week, it would 
be practically impossible to do so." [This is almost the 
universal answer from Wesleyans.] 

" We have tried this plan, and found it of great advantage." 

[N.B. — The numbers of hymns and tunes throughout this 
chapter refer to "Hymns Ancient and Modern," revised 

No one will deny that the congregational singing in a 
large majority of our Nonconformist churches is capable of 
improvement. It will serve no good purpose to enquire 
into the causes which have hindered its proper develop- 
ment. Rather let me give some practical hints towards 
making it better. 

The minister's influence leads the way. It has been 
referred to on p. 1 et seq., so there is no need for further 

Next in order, and of hardly less importance, come the 
office-bearers. A "word in season" has been addressed 
to them on p. 8 ; but it may be well to add a " word of 
caution" about them. Beware of the "influential" 


office-bearer if he happens to be anti-musical. (The 
word " influential" in the office-bearer connection may 
often be spelled £. s. d.) He may be such a pillar (?) 
of the church as to crush all the musical enthusiasm out 
of minister, organist, and congregation. He will probably 
be a staunch Radical in politics, but a Conservative of 
the deepest blue in matters ecclesiastical. His church 
music policy may be well epitomised in the second verse 
of the Gloria Patri ; and such remarks as " innovations," 
"new fangled notions," "ritualistic," "apeing the 
church," &c, will be freely uttered by him at the deacons' 
and other church meetings. He will not hesitate to 
"sit upon" his brethren of the diaconate or eldership 
should they be so heterodox as to suggest some scheme for 
improving the singing. This is no imaginary picture, but 
true to life, as many can testify. The only thing is to 
try and convince such an "erring brother" that his 
opposition is a great hindrance to the development of an 
important, if not vital, element in Nonconformist worship 
in these days — the Service of Song. 

I cannot refrain from inserting here the following 
authentic story which came under my notice a short 
time ago. An office-bearer was very much opposed 
to anything new in church matters of every kind, 
unless he suggested it himself. The organist of the 
church was very anxious to introduce Smart's Te 
Deum in F, but knowing the fuss that would be made 
by this office-bearer — whom we will call Mr. D. — he 
resorted to strategy in order to accomplish his purpose. 
One evening Mr. 0., the organist, was to dine at Mr. D's 
house. Before starting he put a copy of Smart's 
Te Deum in his pocket, and managed surreptitiously to 
place it amongst the music in the drawing-room. After 
dinner he asked permission to "look over the music" 
which was readily granted. He soon came across a 
Te Deum in the key of F, by Henry Smart, and said 


"I see. you have Smart's Te Deurn here?" "What is 
it like?" replied his host in an interested manner, "let 
us try it over." Accordingly they repaired to the piano, 
and went through the Te Deum to the delight of 
1\Lv. D., who pronounced it " exceedingly fine." "Could 
we not have it in church, Mr. 0?" "Certainly," he 
replied, " if you have no objection." The result was that 
Smart's Te deum was sung in that church unopposed by 
Mr. D., and with evident pleasure to the congregation. 
Whether he claimed all the credit of its introduction is 
not recorded. It may not fall to the lot of every 
organist to enjoy the hospitality of the influential office- 
bearer or to possess the remarkable cuteness of Mr. 0. 
But in any case he may do much to soften the unfortunate 
prejudices of either the influential or anti-musical elder or 
deacon if he will only go the right way to work ; and there 
is a possibility of entirely winning him over in course of 
time by the exercise of patience and tact. 

The necessity of securing a properly qualified and 
enthusiastic organist and choirmaster has been shown in 
detaiL on p. 10. It only remains to add that having 
obtained the services of such a one, the church authorities 
should have every confidence in him, and not worry him 
with a number of trivial objections and unpractical 
suggestions. Eussy officials are a nuisance to a technic- 
ally-qualified musician. "I like tunes that are fruit//, 
like old port," said an elder to an organist of my 
acquaintance. What could such a remark mean, unless 
it referred to tunes composed in '42 ! Gentlemen of the 
diaconate or eldership should become total abstainers 
from all such observations. 

Hymn and tune book combined. I am convinced from 
experience and observation that providing the congregation 
with the words and music on the same page is a great 
help towards securing better and heartier congregational 
singing. Besides the inconvenience of holding two books, 


there is the risk of not always hearing the number of the 
tune, especially if, as is frequently the case, it is indistinctly 
announced, or, worse still, if it is not given out at all. 
No wonder the people trouble themselves little about 
using the separate tune-book, as the lamentable returns on 
p. 56 unfortunately testify. Give the congregation a 
carefully edited hymnal, having words and music on the 
same page, and there will be more part-singing, more 
heartiness, and more interest in the worship music, 
not only throughout the church, but also in the 
home circle. For example, take the case of a young 
lady who is fairly musical. Unless she is very 
enthusiastic about the tunes she will not take the trouble 
to find two places and hold two books. But supply her 
with the tune on the same page as the words, and if it 
takes her fancy she will most likely play and sing it 
again and again at home. And it will not stop here, 
for the other members of the family will probably 
be attracted to, and join in it to the delight of all. 
If this applies to one family, why not to twenty ? 
And if to twenty families, why not to the whole 
congregation ? 

The Church of England has set an excellent example in 
this matter, as all their hymnals are issued with words 
and music combined. At the head of these stands that 
almost incomparable collection (from a musical point of 
view) "Hymns Ancient and Modern," of which, since its 
first issue in 1860 to the end of 1886, twenty-Jive million 
six hundred and fiftij thousand copies have been sold.* (The 
music edition was first published in 1861.) This example 
Nonconformists have been too slow to follow. The only 
denominations having the fixed tune system are the 
"Wesleyan Methodists, and that insignificant and unmusical 
community — the English Presbyterians! To these must be 

* I owe this information to the kindness of the Rev. William Pulling', 
Chairman of the C >mmittee of " Hymns Ancient and Modern." 


added the three sections of the Presbyterian Church in 
Scotland. It is astonishing that the Congregationalists and 
Baptists — the two largest Nonconformist denominations — 
should have tolerated the inconveniences of w the dual plan 
so long. The Congregational Union is about to issue a 
hymnal with music (better late than never), and Dr. Allon 
has recently published an excellent collection — though far 
too large — entitled " Congregational Psalmist Hymnal," on 
the same lines. It is to be hoped these books will meet 
with all the success they deserve, and that the Baptists will 
not be long in following suit. 

Strangely enough the objections to the fixed tune 
system come from some of the organists. They say 
' ' Ministers have such a limited choice of hymns, that 
with the fixed tune system we should be singing the 
same tunes over and over again." But that is the fault of 
the ministers, and not of the fixed tune system. From 
the experience of many of my brother organists whose 
opinion is worth having, and of my own (of both systems), 
1 have no hesitation in saying that the hymn and tune 
book combined is the right system, and that the other is 
entirely wrong. Moreover, as far as possible, a hymn 
should be known by its tune, and the tune should suggest 
the words. For every reason, I most strongly advise any 
church about to change its hymn-book to adopt a carefully- 
edited hymnal which has the music on the same page 
as the words. 

Before giving detailed hints as to congregational hymn 
singing in general, it will be necessary to call attention to 
the notation of hymn-tunes. 

The majority of hymnals have their tunes printed in 
minims instead of crotchets. This may be because the 
minims look more sedate and ecclesiastic ; or for the more 
practical reason that the thin paper on which some hymn- 
books are (unfortunately) printed, receives the impression 
of open notes better than closed. But it must be 


remembered that the minim — or, in fact, any note — is only 
relatively long or short. A bar of four crotchets may 
occupy more actual time in singing or playing than a bar 
of four minims. Therefore, the minims must be con- 
sidered only as the beat-notes of each bar, and not as 
indicating any particular speed. It is a little unfortunate 
that minims are so frequently used as beat-notes in church 
music, as in music other than ecclesiastical the minim is 
looked upon as a long note, and the tendency is so to 
regard it in hymn-singing, thereby giving it a fictitious 
value. Some modern editors — Sir Arthur Sullivan k in 
" Church Hymns," and Mr. Barnby in the " Hymnary " 
— wisely throw off conservatism in this respect, and 
print their books in a more natural notation. 

The long note at the beginning of each tune is now 
almost obsolete, except in Dr. Allon's " Congregational 
Psalmist." It should be entirely ignored, as its observance 
does more harm than good. Some of Dr. Steggall's, and a 
few other composers' tunes, are, however, exceptions. 

Playing over the tune. The tune should be played over 
immediately before the congregation rise to sing it. The 
minister should do all the announcing before the playing 
over. By adopting this plan the melody, the rhythm, and 
the pitch of the tune remain fresh in the minds of the 

Speed. The speed at which a hymn should be sung 
depends upon (1) the sentiment of the words, and (2) 
the size of the congregation. Penitential and entirely 
prayer-hymns should be sung slowly and be well 
sustained. Examples: "Nearer, my God, to Thee;" 
" Come gracious Spirit, Heavenly Dove." On the other 
hand, hymns of praise should be sung quickly and 
brightly. Examples : " Let us with a gladsome mind ; " 
" worship the King." Some hymns require a medium 
speed. Examples: ''Pleasant are Thy courts above;" 
u God moves in a mysterious way." Sometimes the 


sentiment changes either in each verse, or during the 
course of the hymn. Example of the former, " I heard 
the voice of Jesus say" (to Dykes's familiar tune, " Yox 
Dilecti," 257), in which the second half of each verse 
should be sung more quickly than the first, hut the change 
should be gradual, and the tune worked up in speed and 
tone to the last line — the climax — of each verse. 
Example of the latter, " There's a Friend for little 
children," which should be sung as brightly as possible till 
the last two lines, when a slackening of speed — preceded 
by a slight pause — should be made to give point to the 
prayer of the hymn — " Lord, grant Thy little children," 
&c. Martial hymns should be sung in quick-step time, 
and with well-marked accent. Example: "Onward, 
Christian Soldiers,"to Sullivan's irresistible tune, "St. 

Again, speed in hymn singing must be regulated by the 
size of the congregation. A body of 1,500 people cannot 
sing so quickly as one of #00. Any attempt to force the 
pace of a large congregation will be attended with difficulty 
and possible failure. This does not infer that the con- 
gregation are to dictate their own time, but it is here 
mentioned in a cautionary sense. 

The tune should, as a rule, be sung in strict time. The 
only exceptions are when a rallentando is specially inserted 
in the music or text ; and when approaching the close of a 
hymn, when a little slackening of speed will help to 
enforce its climax, and, as it were, seal the hymn. The 
too frequent use of the double bar at the end of each, or 
every two lines is an immense drawback to the carrying 
out of this rule. It should be clearly understood that the 
double bar merely indicates the end of the line, that 
it is a guide to the eye in following the lines of words, 
and that it has no musical significance beyond an ordinary 
bar-line. It is not, and therefore, should not be 
made, a pause. 


All S.M. tunes (except in triple time) require their 
full three heats at the end of the 1st and 2nd lines, 
hut there must be no pause at the double bar between 
the 3rd and 4th lines — they should be sung in strict 
time. CM., 7.6., and 8.7. tunes (except in triple time) 
must have no break in the time between the 1st and 
2nd, and 3rd and 4th lines — the three-beat note at the end 
the 2nd line is the only (natural) pause allowable. L.M. 
tunes (except in triple time) ought to be sung in strict 
time, but the rule has sometimes to be relaxed for this 
metre. It is so constructed that there is no natural break 
as in S.M , CM., &c, so a slight breath-pause may be 
made by lengthening the last, note of the 2nd line not 
more than a beat ; but there should be no pause between 
the 1st and 2nd, and 3rd and 4th lines. These rules also 
apply to compound; metres, D.S.^I., 8.8.8.,, &c. 
Tunes of 6s, 7s, and 10s, will have natural breaks at the 
end of each line. Of course it must be quite understood that 
the above rules are not binding when they are contradicted 
by special notes or signs. Fur example, "St. Cross " 
(114), must have four full beats at the end of each line. 
The rule is also relaxed in favour of the German chorales 
(379, 111), which are frequently sung in German style, 
with a pause at the end of each line. The proper function 
of the double bar in hymn-tunes has be en explained in 
detail — it is to be hoped clearly — in order to remove any 
>nception regarding its use. 

Triple rhythms in hymn-tunes require careful attention, 
in order to keep them in strict time. Triple time was 
calle 1 tempus perfect urn of the ancients, but as regards the 
congregational singing of the moderns it might well be 
termed tempus imperfectum. This want of rhythmic 
feeling is especially prevalent in tunes of the "Martyr- 
dom " type, where a long note of two beats is preceded 
and followed by a note of one beat. The long note is often 
not dwelt upon enough, the weight of the note is not 


sufficiently felt, and the short note, on the other hand, is 
not sung lightly, or short enough. A strong accent in all 
triple measures is absolutely necessary in order to preserve 
the exact rhythm. 

In the rare instances of a change of rhythm in a tune, 
great care is necessary. Examples : " The roseate hues of 
early dawn" (229), and "Days and moments quickly 
flying" (289). In the former the change to the compound 
duple time must be well marked, as must also the return 
to the original common time, which is frequently attended 
with greater risk. A similar wrench — if I may use the 
word in this connection — from one rhythm to another is 
also equally needed in the second example. 

Rests indicate silence for both voices and organ, and 
should be so observed. Examples: "The day is past 
and over" (21, 1st tune), silent beat in second complete 
bar; "0 happy band of pilgrims" (224), silent beats at 
the end of the 1st and 3rd lines; "Art thou weary?" 
(254, 2nd tune), where the rest between lines two and 
three should be strictly observed, as it makes a significant 
pause between the question and answer contained in each 

Special emphasis is required on certain words to enforce 
their meaning. Innumerable examples could be given, 
but one or two will suffice. "0 Jesus, keep me" (21, 
1st tune); "Jesus lives/" (140, 1st tune); "Free and 
faithful, strong as death" (260, v. 4); " Thy will be 
done," &c. 

A repeated word or phrase should be sung with 
increased fervour, and the comma should be noticed as 
dividing the repetition. Examples : " Hark ! — hark, my 
soul ; " " Praise Him "—"Praise Him "— " Praise Him" 
— " PKAISE HIM," each repetition should be sung with 
additional tone and feeling. Examples for similar 
treatment of the comma: — "Ever faithful — ever sure;" 
11 God of mercy — God of grace," the dash in all these 


examples indicates a slight break for both voices and 

Expression, which is variety in tone, is absolutely 
necessary for an effective and true rendering of the words. 
To sing a hymn like " Sun of my soul" right through 
without varying the tone to suit the sentiment of the 
words, would be mechanical and soulless in the extreme. 
Natural feeling ought to dictate the places [where loud or 
soft, cres. or dim., should be introduced, but expression- 
marks judiciously added to the hymn-books are indis- 
pensable in order to ensure their simultaneous adoption by 
the whole congregation. Unfortunately, most of the 
Nonconformist hymnals (except those of the Presby- 
terians), are without expression marks, therefore the work 
of the organist and choir in this direction is often 
disheartening. The only thing is to call frequent attention 
to " expression " at the choir practices, and get the choir 
to mark their books. This, while only securing a partial 
result, is far better than singing a hymn regardless of its 
varied sentiments and devotional feeling. The congre- 
gation will often, to a large extent, readily follow the 
changes which the organist and choir make to bring out 
the real meaning of the words. Great care is needed, 
however, in guarding against an exaggerated expression, 
which is nothing less than sheer affectation, and contrary 
to common sense. 

Unison, or more correctly speaking, octave singing is 
very effective. Its occasional use for the initial or final 
verses, or both, of a hymn, gives a bold opening and forms 
a grand climax. With hearty, full-voiced singing by 
choir and congregation, supported by a free organ accom- 
paniment, unison hymn-singing may be made very inspiring 
and thrilling. Sullivan's clever arrangement of 
"St. Ann's" to "The Son of God goes forth to war"— 
though perhaps a little too dramatic and uncongregational 
in the 6th verse — is a good example. Sir John Goss's fine 


tune to "Praise, my soul, the King of heaven" — with the 
3rd verse by sopranos only, and sung more slowly 
than the other verses — is a perfect specimen. Tunes 
like "Hanover," "Nun danket " (see Mendelssohn's 
masterly arrangement in his " Hymn of Praise ") 
are splendidly climaxed when the last verse is sung 
in unison. Broad melodies to robust hymns are best 
suited for unison treatment. However, care must be 
taken that the melodies lie within the compass of all 
the voices. The "Amens" should invariably be sung 
in harmony. 

Antiphonal singing gives variety to the praise service. 
Although one of the oldest forms of congregational song,* 
it is seldom practised in Nonconformist churches, but there 
is no reason why it should not be occasionally introduced. 
Its simplest form is between choir and congregation. 
Example : " Let us with a gladsome mind," the first two 
lines by choir alone — either with a varied or without 
accompaniment — and the congregation responding^ with 
the refrain, " For His mercy shall endure, Ever faithful, 
ever sure." This treatment of Milton's hymn was 
exceedingly effective in Christ Church, Westminster Road, 
when the response was " poured forth " by a congregation 
of upwards of 2,000 people. Another form is for female 
to alternate with male voices. See 295 for a good example. 
However, it is almost necessary for all the books to be 
properly marked to ensure good antiphonal singing, except 

* "Antiphonal, or alternate singing is of very high antiquity. It was 
characteristic of the Hebrew and early Christian worship, and is mentioned 
hy Philo in the middle of the first century, describing the Therapeutic (De 
Vit. Cont.), and has always been more or less practised in the church." 
Rev. T. SeVmore in " <■ rove's Dictionary of Music and Musicl . .. 

j><'!/>' 74. 

Socrates, in his ecclesiastical history (Book VT, chap, viii), gives the 
following miraculous story of the introduction of responsive singing. 
"Ignatius, third Bishop of Antioch in Syria from the Apostle Peter, who had 
Ly with the Apostles themselves, saw a vision of angels hymning 
in alternating chants the Holy Trinity; after which he introduced the 
mode of singing he had observed in the vision into the Antiochian churches, 
whence it was transmitted by tradition to all the other churches." " Stainer 
and Bam '.'' Dictit nary of Musical Terms," -page 30. 


when between choir and congregation. For this, a clear 
intimation from the pulpit ought to be quite sufficient. 

The Children' '* Hymn should be a special feature in the 
morning service. In many churches it is the commendable 
custom to have a children's homily, followed by a suitable 
children's hymn. The children's hymn-tune, like 
children's natures, should be bright, interesting, and 
simple. Sullivan's "jolly" tune — as the boys call it — 
"St. Theresa," to "Brightly gleams our banner," is a 
good specimen, and Hopkins's "Children's Voices" (336) 
is equally charming- Children's hymns which tell a story 
should be simply and lightly sung, and the words very 
distinctly enunciated. Mrs. Alexander's " Once in royal 
David's city " is an excellent example of this class. 

Faults in congregational tinging. These are flattening, 
dragging, bad phrasing, &c, caused to a great extent by 
apathy and a want of interest in the praise service. If the 
lethargic manner in which some people rise to sing 
may be taken as indicating their interest in the singing, it 
will be no exaggeration to put it below zero. Apathy in 
congregational song blights, if it does not almost kill, the 
praise service. It requires the application of a powerful 
galvanic battery from the pulpit in the shape of a rousing 
sermon to remove it, and the disease may have taken such 
deep root as to necessitate a frequent repetition of the 
shock before a complete cure can be effected. The treat- 
ment here suggested is beyond the province of the music- 
leader ; the minister should be the doctor in this disease, 
and unhesitatingly apply the rem- 

Flattening. Atmospheric conditions may often account 
for it. Such contrary elements as the east wind, 
and a hot, stuffy, ill-ventilated church, will cause it. 
Minor tunes, chromatic intervals, wide diatonic skips, 
uninteresting, dreary tunes, a long, slow hymn, will all 
have a tendency to fall in pitch. I have also found thai 
tunes beginning on other notes than the key-note will 


start flat, and a flat start will often affect several 
succeeding chords. Examples : commencing on mediant 
(22); on dominant (17); octave above or below final 
note of preceding verse (378, 302) ; first inversion 
of tonic chord (218); chords other than tonic (125); 
change of major to minor at each verse (257). These 
examples have been given as cautions, so that organists 
and choirmasters may be on the look out^ for the 
danger of flatness in these and similar instances. 

It is as difficult to always trace the causes of flattening 
as to suggest a remedy. Of course it is of primary impor- 
tance that the choir sing well in tune, and a great deal also 
depends upon their giving a bright, crisp lead. Careful 
watchfulness on the part of the organist is necessary, in 
order that he may come to the rescue directly the pitch is 
in danger. I have sometimes found transposition to be of 
service. For instance, on a fine, bright morning, and 
when the wind is not in the east, I play some tunes — 
always taking care not to exceed the compass of the voices 
— half a tone higher than they are written. Examples : 
11 Aurelia" in E instead of E flat, the original key ; " St. 
Peter" and " French " (or " Dundee ") the same; 
"Redhead, No. 47" (399) in D flat instead of C; and 
especially those tunes with low bass parts. Whereas on 
a miserable, raw winter's day, when colds are prevalent, 
the pitch of some of the tunes may be lowered with 

A word of justification must be said for the much- 
abused organist, in this connection. The common indict- 
ment against him is that he plays too loudly. But what 
in the world is he to do if he finds the congregation 
are falling away from the pitch ? He must do one of two 
things. Either increase the power of his instrument and 
make the difference in pitch felt by the congregation, or 
undergo the fearful torture of playing a quarter, or 


perhaps, half a tone sharper than their singing. No one 
who has sensitive ears could possibly endure the latter 
unless he stopped them up. I believe the cause of the too 
lend playing is to a great extent — though by no means 
entirely — traceable to the "flattening" and "dragging" 
which is far too prevalent in our congregational singing. 
If the congregation would only throw off their apathy and 
get really interested in the service of praise, there is no 
doubt there would be better and brighter singing, and 
consequently less flatness. 

Dragging is another painful experience. Oh! that it 
were possible to inoculate the whole congregation with 
rhythmic virus ! There are always some people who are 
content to be a little way behind the rest. If this 
slothfulness were one of the Christian virtues any 
objection to it would be impossible, but in the praise 
connection it is a vice which cannot be too strongly 
condemned. The chief cause of dragging is the common 
fault of lengthening, instead of shortening, the final notes 
of phrases. The time occupied in taking breath should 
be stolen — as it were — from the last note of the phrase, 
and not from the first note of the new phrase. Unfor- 
tunately, this rule is almost universally disregarded in 
congregational singing, and the result is that the new note 
is late in entering, and then, of course, dragging ensues. 
And it is not only one phrase (or line) that suffers from 
tliis common fault, but each succeeding one. In 
fact, the whole hymn is thereby dragged. Instead of 
becoming an uplifting exercise it degenerates into a 
weariness of the musical flesh. iSo wonder if everyone 
possessed with musical sensibilities is tired and thankful 
when the end comes. 

How are these faults to be remedied? A congregational 
practice is a very doubtful cure, and for the reason 
that only a very small percentage of the congre- 


gation will attend it. If the majority of the congregation 
are unable, or unwilling to come to a week-evening 
service at which the minister presides, they will not attend 
a congregational practice. An open invitation to the 
congregation to remain to the choir practice does very 
little, if any good. Only enthusiasts in the service 
music will accept it, and the number of these is so 
small as scarcely to be of any use in leavening the whole 

Another remedial measure is to have what is termed a 
<; Psalmody Association," which is very general in 
Scotland ; and it has also been in operation for some years 
at Union Chapel, Islington, where Dr. Allon ministers. 
Practically it becomes a Church Choral Society — 
sometimes, as at Highbury Presbyterian Church, an 
amateur orchestral society is affiliated to it. Member- 
ship is open to any member of the congregation who pays 
a (nominal) subscription. The usual order of the 
rehearsal is first to practise the church music for the 
following Sunday, and afterwards to take up some cantata 
or oratorio — a public performance of the work being given 
at the close of the season. To the majority of the members 
the oratorio part of the rehearsal is more welcome than 
the psalmody portion, because they do not feel the same 
interest and responsibility that a well- organised choir 
does, or ought to do in leading the praise service. The 
Psalmody Association, unless it is carefully managed, has 
two drawbacks. It will most likely supersede the choir 
practice, and — as in the case of Union Chapel, Islington, 
referred to above — it will, in all probability, develop 
into an ordinary Choral Society to the exclusion of any 
congregational service music. The consequence is that 
the Psalmody Association may not exert that influence on 
the service music which is expected from it. 

Another and more potent specific is to have classes 
for instruction in singing, phrasing. &c, specially 


suitable to the young people. If a good teacher 
can he secured, this is an excellent institution. It 
will help to get the young folks interested in music, 
which is a great point to be gained, because the juniors 
will become seniors ; and for all future office bearers 
to be really interested in the music of the church 
would be a consummation devoutly to be wished. 
Another advantage of the singing-class is that it will 
become a nursery and training ground for future members 
of the choir. Although primarily designed for the more 
juvenile portion of the congregation — ages 10 to 15 — 
yet older folks should not be debarred from joining. The 
elementaries of music — notation, time, &c. — should be 
carefully explained; and plenty of sight-singing exercises 
from the black-board, followed by easy and tuneful 
two-part songs should be introduced. A well-conducted 
singing-class is a good thing, and deserves a trial. 

A highly commendable plan for acquainting the 
congregation with the tunes and other church music has 
been adopted by several English Presbyterian churches, 
including my own. It is to print a list of hymns, &c. for a 
whole month, and to circulate it amongst the congre- 
gation on the last Sunday of the preceding month ; 
copies are also framed and hung at the doors of the 
church. The list may be drawn up by the organist 
or choirmaster, and vetoed by the minister. The hymn 
after the sermon is always left open, in order that one 
may be chosen to suit the subject of the discourse. In 
drawing up the scheme, due regard is paid to the seasons 
of the year, both natural and ecclesiastical, and to any 
special collections, &c, that may be coming on, such as 
foreign missions, anniversaries, &c. The children's hymn 
is always introduced (at the morning service}, and is not 
only looked forward to, but heartily enjoyed by the 
young folks, and also by the children of older growth. 



Subjoined is a section of the 




-, 1887. 


Psalm 103 





Hymn (C.) 


Anthem 17 

Hvmn (C.) 467 

„ 302 


Hvn.n (1st tune) 487 

Psalm 65 

Anthem 2 



Hymn (2nd tune) 


Hvmn ( 1st tune) 





N.B. — The music of the following is, 
list, Anthei 

lerhaps, the least familiar in the above 
is 2 and 18. 

These numbers refer to the English Presbyterian 
Hymnal, " Church Praise," which has words and music 
combined, and which has all the congregational music — 
Anthems, Sanctuses, Chants, &c. — within one cover. 
"Where a 1st or 2nd tune is mentioned the hymn is supplied 
with a choice of two tunes. C signifies the children's hymn. 

The practical results of this scheme are two, and both 
are important. In the first place, it relieves the minister 
of the trouble of searching for the hymns every week, and 
it provides definite material for the choir practice. Thus, 
with the exception of the hymn after the sermon, the 
entire praise service is " cut and dried " before Sunday 
comes round, to the relief of botli minister and music- 
leader. Secondly, as regards the congregation. If they 
will not come to the practice the next best thing is to take 
the practice (in a limited sense) to them. This plan 
provides them with an almost complete bill of fare of the 


praise service, in order that they may familiarise them- 
selves with the music at home. Is the plan successful ? 
Judging from my own experience, undoubtedly it is in 
every way. From enquiries I have made I find that 
families who, previous to the introduction of the hymn 
list, took little or no interest in the service music, now go 
over the tunes in the family circle regularly every 
Sunday ; and it requires very little reasoning to show that 
these home practisings must exercise a good influence upon 
the singing of the congregation. Surely such a result is 
worth securing, and speaking for my own congregation I 
think they would be sorry to be deprived of their monthly 
hymn-list. I may add that the plan has the cordial 
approval of our minister. He says, "I like it; it is a 
great relief to me." 

It has occurred to me whether an occasional lecture — 
say two or three in a season — on congregational singing, 
witli musical illustrations, might not be tried with 
advantage. There should be no possible objection to 
setting apart one of the regular weekly-service evenings for 
such a purpose. If this suggestion is entertained, the 
lecture should have all the prestige of official sanction, and 
be considered as part of the church work, and should be so 
recognised. The choirmaster or organist might be invited 
by the minister and deacons to give the lecture; if he feels 
unequal to the task some competent outsider should be 
asked. The church choir should give the illustrations to 
show the congregation "how to do it." The congregation 
should also sing, and any faults which they may have 
should be pointed out by the lecturer. The minister 
should preside, and enter into the subject with all 
heartiness, and try his best to get up plenty of enthusiasm 
and interest in the meeting. I am sure a very profitable 
and, at the same time, pleasant evening might be 
spent in this way, and with excellent results towards 
improving the congregational song. 


Finally, one very important, if not the chief remedy for 
the singing ills that the congregational flesh seems heir 
to, is to have a competent organist and a well-drilled 
and efficient choir, not only to lead with precision, 
but to set nothing but good models of style to 
the congregation. An organist so qualified, and a choir 
so constituted, can do great things in controlling, regu- 
lating, and improving congregational singing. Good 
examples in phrasing, accent, rhythm, expression, &c. , if 
resolutely persisted in and upheld, will exercise a greater 
influence upon the congregational song than many would 
believe. Therefore it comes to this, that the playing of 
the organ and the training of the choir are the important 
factors in furthering the worship music of the sanctuary. 
On whom then does the responsibility rest ? The organist 
and choirmaster. The moral is obvious. 




The question " Is your prose chanting fairly well done?'" 1 
was replied to thus :— " No," 8. "Yes," 133. Of the 
latter, 16 qualify "very well done," and several add 
" room for improvement." 80 congregations do not 

Subjoined are some of the replies : — 

"Yes; better than our hymn-singing." [Cathedral 
Psalter used. Large Yorkshire church.] 

" Yes, exceedingly well ; but we were a long time before 
we succeeded in so doing." 

"We use Dr. Allon's chant book, in which we think the 
author to be wholly wrong as to the reciting note and the 

" Yes. Much attention has been given to this department, 
and it is much enjoyed both by choir and congregation." 

" Yes. Particular care is taken about the accented words, 
and the sense of the psalm is brought out very well indeed." 

"No, badly. Our leader's fault who 'rushes' a phrase 
and then makes a long note before proceeding to the part in 
strict time. I am trying to introduce a system of abolish- 
ing that long note, and the people are taking it up well." 
[A minister.] 

"Wo do not chant. The hurdy-gurdy rhythms adopted 
and strictly adhered to by many who go in for it, have left me 
wi:hout dosire to share any spoil from that hold " 

" We find chanting the most difficult part of our service. 


The difficulty is in getting everyone to pronounce the same 
word at the same time — paying attention to punctuation and 

' ' Chanting has been adandoned for the present, as the 
Psalter that was in use was so badly pointed." 

" Yes, exceptionally so. Chiefly by reason of our accen- 
tuating each accented syllable in the reciting portion without 
laying special emphasis on the last accented syllable, as is 
often done to the detriment, as we think, of the rendering." 

" No. I am in darkness as to the proper method of chant- 
ing. I have read various systems, and to me they seem 
contradictory to one another." 

" Congregations never can do it well, and as we wish 
congregational singing, we do not attempt it." 

"Fairly. We aim at singing the psalms as nearly as 
possible as we should recite them. We often rehearse the 
words to a monotone." 

" Yes; but we use Allon's book, the pointing of which is 
very bad. We keep to a limited number of the most singable 
chants, and have the accented word in the reciting phrases 
marked in pencil." 

" Excellently ; but only by means of a method of pointing 
which indicates the syllable on which the strict time of the 
chant begins." 

"About as well as can be expected with a 'Bible Psalter.' " 

" Yes. We use the ' Magdalen Psalter ' and find it the best 
and simplest." 

"Yes ; provided the tempo be not too fast." 

" I am beginning to think that prose chanting is beyond 
the capacity of an ordinary congregation." 

"We have a Psalter specially prepared for use in our 
church by the present minister, and pointed on what may be 
called elocutionary principles." 

" Yes, when we have a good attendance at the practice." 

"I may say yes, because we never venture on a chant 
unless we have thoroughly practised the chanting of words 
without any instrumental accompaniment. I wish you would 
protest against a habit (so prevalent, I believe, in Congrega- 
tional churches) of singers rushing on with the words to the 
reciting note ' helter skelter ' until they come to the last 
syllable, and then — no matter what the last syllable may be 
— emphasising it instead of some important word preceding 
it. In our choir books (Dr. Allon's Psalmist) we have the 
important to-be-emphasised words underlined in pencil." 

"Yes; but unfortunately our Psalter has no accents 
marked in it, only bars ; and though this is very well in 


theory, it fails^ii practice. It caused us much trouble at first, 

and ultimately entailed a considerable amount of labour to 
insert the accents in all the books." [Oakeley's "Bible 
Psalter " used.] 

" Yes, so far as the choir is concerned; but the congre- 
gation seem perplexed by the pointing of the psalms, which 
in Oakeley's Bible Psalter seems needlessly difficult and 
eccentric " 

" Not nearly so well as I should like. Our book is so 
foolishly pointed as to make nonsense of the words looked 
upon apart from a religious view, and the deacons will not 
allow me to change it. I tell them they are ot) years behind 
the times. Should a few of them be removed I hope to 
make an alteration." (!) 

v, We have no prose chanting; and I have not heard a 
congregation like ours chant prose psalms in such a 
manner as to make it desirable for us to introduce it. Congre- 
gational chanting is, I fear, a matter for the next generation.' 

" Poor, on account of the senseless poiuting of the 

• • We only began to chant prose psalms last year, and find 
them a most delightful addition to our service." 

[Anglican chants only are referred to throughout this 
chapter, as Gregorians, except in an Anglican form, are not 
used in Nonconformist churches.] 

Chanting in Nonconformist churches is a comparatively 
modern custom. While we must go back to the period of 
the Reformation for the earliest use of Metrical Psalms 
and Hymns in public worship, we need only retrace our 
steps to the second half of the 19th century to find the 
earliest date of chanting prose psalms in Nonconformist 
churches. In the comparatively short space of less 
than forty years chanting, in many of our churches, 
has become very popular. What our Puritan ancestors 
regarded as a "Popish custom" has become a profitable 
exercise t<> us; the "unclean thing" has been welcomed 
into the services of Dissenting churches, and its aid to 
devotion, when reverently and carefully done, has been 
readily acknowledged. However, it cannot be said that 
chanting in Nonconformist churches is by any means so 
universal as hymn-singing. Hitherto, the Baptists and 


Wesleyans have not used it to the same extent as the 
Congregationalists ; and it is only within the last year or 
two that the Presbyterians have introduced a practice 
which their forefathers held in as great abhorrence as they 
did the " kist o' whistles." Ecclesiastical bodies of all 
denominations are very conservative and slow to move, 
and any change, or "innovation," is viewed with great 
suspicion; and when at last — often after a fierce struggle — 
any alteration for the better is sanctioned, it is always 
accompanied with grave shaking of hoary heads, and sighs 
of regret that we are so rapidly "going over to Rome." 

The causes which have operated against the introduction 
of chanting in many Nonconformist churches are 
not far to seek. There are two ; one is the objection that 
it " apes the church," the other, that chanting can 
never become thoroughly congregational. It is not worth 
while to waste time in answering the first of these; it is so 
absurd that it can only be treated with the indifference it 
deserves. The inconsistency of some people is remarkable. 
They will sing with evident enjoyment hymns written 
by Horn an Catholics, but they will object to chanting 
because the " church people do it." Such bigotry is 

The second objection is to a great extent a reasonable 
one. There is no doubt good congregational chanting is 
not nearly so easy as hymn-singing. Without being a 
pessimist, I am inclined to think that in small churches, 
where there are not an organ and good choir to lead, 
chanting is better dispensed with. 

One difficulty in the way of smooth chanting is 
the use of the Bible words of the Psalms. The 
Psalter in the " Book of Common Prayer" of the 
Church of England is that of the " Great Dible " 
of Coverdale, issued in 1540, and it lends itself better to 
pointing than the authorized version of King James, 
which was issued in 1611. However, this is a compara- 


tively minor obstacle. There are others more potent, 
each and all of which I shall endeavour fully to meet in 
the following chapter. I hope that I shall be able to 
give such assistance as will minimise, if not remove, the 
difficulties connected with chanting in Nonconformist 

First, everything in congregational chanting depends 
upon a good, unwavering vocal lead. That lead, in nearly 
all churches, is the choir. In the recitation — the most 
difficult part of all — the organ cannot help, except 
to sustain the pitch. The choir must be thoroughly 
well drilled in, and become perfectly familiar with, 
both words and music. Each and all must be together 
all the way along the reciting note. There must be 
no ambiguity about the place of the last accented 
syllable of the recitation, or of the division of syllables 
between it and the commencement of the cadence. One 
erring voice may trip up the whole choir ; and this will 
not only unnerve the members who are in the right, but 
will set a bad example of unsteadiness to the congregation. 
Therefore, there should be constant practice of chanting 
by the choir. The choirmaster who wishes to make 
it successful must be prepared to give much time, 
pains, patience, and btudy to it at the choir practices, 
and the choir must loyally second his efforts. The 
importance of a full attendance at the practice 
cannot be over-estimated in this connection. Unless 
the chant and psalm are thoroughly well known, 
it will be far better for any members of the choir who 
have not attended the practice to occupy seats amongst 
the congregation, otherwise they may be more of a 
hindrance than a help to the chanting. Members of 
choirs too often think more of themselves than of other 
people when they go on singing in their own way, 
regardless of consequences t<> those around them. They 
may think it a "joyful noise," but their fellow members 


will consider it a downright nuisance. Constant practice 
by the choir is vital to good chanting, and its necessity 
cannot be too strongly urged. In order to get the congre- 
gation familiarized with chanting, it should be introduced 
at least every Sunday, and also at the week-night service 
if some of the choir attend to lead. 

A single chant consists of two portions, the Recitation 
and — for all practical purposes— the Cadence. A double 
chant is two single chants combined. The recitation, or 
reciting-note, may be of any length, and is unmeasured 
music. The cadence - so called — consists of two, or 
three bars, and is metrical, or measured music. 

The words of the recitation should be sung as in good 
public reading, and not gabbled over and jumbled together 
in the irreverent and unseemly manner so often heard. 
It should be remembered that there may be one, two, or 
three important words in the recitation — each of which 
requires an accent — before the cadence is reached. 
I am inclined to think that this is frequently forgotten. 
It is a common fault for singers to accent with startling 
emphasis some comparatively unimportant word near the 
cadence, whereas some previous word of far greater 
significance in the recitation has scarcely been heard at 
all. For instance — 

All the earth shall worship Thee, and shall sing | un . to | Thee. 
An accent naturally falls, and should be so observe*], mi 
the word "sing;" but the preceding words — "All," 
" earth," and " Thee " — are of equal importance, 
and each should surely have an accent. A good 
reciter would not elocutionize the verse thus — 

Allth'.'artlisha'worshipTheean'sha' SING— mm . to Thee. 
Such a rendering would be simply ridiculous. He would 
not take almost as long to say " sing," as all the previous 
words put together. He would naturally say — 

All the earth shall worship Thee, and shall sing unto Thee. 

('If A XT TNG. 93 

Every word, every syllable, would be clear and distinct, 
and the comma after the first "Thee" would be duly 
regarded as a slight pause. There would be no gabbling, 
or rushing the words, and no unnatural sforzando on 
"sing." So it should be in good chanting, for chanting is 
— or should be — musical reading. If a clear and distinct 
enunciation of every word cannot be secured at the pace 
at which the chant is usually sung, then, rather than 
sacrifice one single word, slacken the speed. 

Punctuation is a very important element in chanting. 
Unfortunately it is too often neglected. It, likewise, 
should be observed as in good public reading. Of course 
it is not desirable to notice every comma, as it would 
cause jerkiness and become fidgeting. For instance — 

1 will praise Thee, O Lord, among the people — 
there is no need to notice the comma after " Thee." 
Similar instances frequently occur ; and it would be a 
great help if all unnecessary commas were deleted, as has 
been done by Rev. Rigby Murray in his " Revised 

An asterisk (*) indicating a slight pause for taking breath 
in the recitation has been introduced into the Cathedral 
Psalter, and its prototype the Bible Psalter (Troutbeck) 
with excellent results. In long recitations its use is 
invaluable — not only as a breath mark — but as a check 
against gabbling. For a good example see Psalm 18, 
v. 1 in the Bible Psalter referred to above. 

So far as I know there are only three Anglican Psalters 
which have marks to guide all along the reciting note. 
They are (1) the "Clapton Park Psalter" 1876 (J. Curwen 
& Sons)— which is the development of a small collection 
of " Psalms arranged in proper rhythm for chanting," 
edited by Rev. John Curwen in 1847; (2) "The Office 
of Praise," chant selection of Baptist service-book, 
(Hamilton, Adams & Co. ); (3) the very elaborate "Psalter, 
with chants, for use in the Temple Church," edited by 


Dr. E. J. Hopkins, 1883 (privately issued). The great 
drawback to the use of these and similar books lies in the 
multiplicity of signs ; the bewilderment they create 
increases, rather than diminishes, existing difficulties. 
Another objection is that they produce a mechanical style 
of chanting, and the attention which ought to be given 
to the words is devoted to deciphering and observing the 
numerous hieroglyphics. There should be as few signs as 
possible. If care is exercised with the recitation, one 
or two are quite sufficient. 

I now come to what constitutes the chief difficulty in 
chanting. It is the joining or grooving of the 
unmeasured recitation on to, or into the first bar of the 
strict time (cadence) of the chant. Most practical 
musicians in effect say — there must be a place of 
rendezvous in the recitation at which the rhythmic form 
of the chant commences. It is impossible — however 
excellent the pointing — to fix a definite place for it in the 
recitation which would suit each and every verse, ns by so 
doing the sense of the words would be frequently spoiled. 
Some authorities — more learned in theory than wise in 
practice — say that their systems of pointing are so 
adjusted that there is no need of any sucli rendezvous. 
Others again are silent on the subject, expecting each and 
every singer simultaneously to select the right place for 
its introduction, whereas experience proves that this is 
generally what they do not do. Anyone who has had 
the practical training of a choir knows full well the 
fallacy of these theories. Like many other theories they 
will not work. 

In order to correct the glaring errors which singers had 
fallen into in their chanting, Dr. Stephen Elvey 
[1805-1800] issued in 1856, a "Psalter, pointed for 
Chanting, upon a new principle." He spent many years 
in thinking out and perfecting his plans, and it is but 
justice to his memory to say that his system has practically 


been the foundation upon which most modern Psalters 
have been pointed — hence the importance of understanding 
its principles. In his Psalter Dr. Elvey first introduces the 
term "imaginary bar" in connection with the reciting- 
note ; though, as a matter of fact, its use, or, to be more 
exact, its abuse, had long been in operation previously. 
He calls attention to the last accented syllable of the 
recitation — which is the beginning of the "imaginary 
bar" — and indicates it with an accent mark. Therefore, 
the last accented syllable of the recitation (bear in mind 
it is the last, not the only one that may require an accent) 
is literally the point at which the unmeasured recitation 
ends, and the strict time of the cadence begins. Dr. 
Elvey says, "It is particularly worthy of remark, that 
the last accented syllable should, according to this method, 
form the commencement of an imaginary bar at the end 
of the recitation-note. This appears to take off the 
sudden change from the recitation-note to the metrical 
part, and is the principle which the author has endeavoured 
to carry out in pointing the Psalter." 

So much for the doctrine of the " imaginary bar." 
Before explaining its principles and guarding against its 
abuses, it will be necessary to answer any possible 
objections to the introduction of an accent marking its 
commencement. If there is no accent mark the singers 
will most probably fall into one of two errors. They 
will either make an awkward pause on the last word or 
syllable of the recitation — no matter whether it is an 
important one or not, or they will get into a rule-of- 
thumb style of chanting, which may be likened to a 
sharp run, followed by a hop, and then a slow march. 
Many comical examples of both errors could be given to 
show what ridiculous nonsense they make of the words, 
but two mild ones will illustrate^the points. 

*\ h it is mar, that Thou art | mindful . of | him ?|| 
There should be no emphasis, or pause on the word " art," 


which should be sung lightly ; but the important word 

••Thou" should be gently accented. It should be 

chanted — 

What is man that Thou art | mindful . of | him?j| 


What is man that Thou art | mindful . of | him.|| 

The other error consists in constantly jerking the last 

word or syllable but one before the first bar of the 

cadence, regardless of the sense of the words. For 


O ta-te and see that the | Lord is | good.|| 

instead of, 

taste and see that the | Lord is | good.]] 

The effect of the former will be, 

O taste and see that — the Lord is good. 
What is "that," that we are to taste and see? Such a 
rendering, when analysed, is absurd. But how often are 
even worse incongruities perpetrated by misplacing the 
accents in chanting? 

It is in order to correct these and similar errors that an 
accent mark is placed in the recitation at the point where 
the metrical time of the chant commences. Its proper use 
is of the greatest assistance to intelligent chanting. 
There are two ways of indicating the accent mark in 
pointed Psalters — by a dash ', as in the Cathedral Psalter, 
or by different type, as in Dr. Elvey's. The dash is 
preferable to disturbing the type. Those who use psalters 
without accent marks will do well to insert the marks 
in the choir books in order to secure uniformity, and 
the result will amply compensate for the trouble 
involved. A pencil underlining of the word will answer 
every purpose, care being taken to make it perfectly 

Having shown cause for the use of the "imaginary 
bar" with the accent marking its commencement, 
special attention must be directed to its frequent 

('IIAXTIXa. 97 

abuse. It is a very common thing to hear choirs 
bolt along the recitation at a furious pace — regardless of 
the sense of the words, commas, and breathing places — 
up to the accent-marked syllable, which they dwell 
upon and emphasize with startling energy, then make 
the words between it and the first real bar of the chant 
inaudible, and finally sing the few remaining words 
of the verse at less than half the speed of the former. 
This cannot be called chanting ; unseemly gabbling is the 
only term for it, and it is astonishing how such irreverent 
proceedings can be tolerated for one moment. If chanting 
cannot be done more devotionally than this, the sooner 
it is withdrawn the better. However, there is no 
reason why it should be thus, if proper care is taken 
with the recitation and treatment of the divisions of 
the "imaginary bar." 

It may serve some good purpose to insert here the 
golden rule for the recitation before I pass on. 

Tlie words of the recitation should be deliberately recited 
as in good reading aloud, every syllable and every word 
distinctly and clearly enunciated. All important words 
should be accented, and the punctuation carefully attended to. 

If this rule is always observed there will be no 
rushing up to the accented syllable of the " imaginary 
bar." When the accent-marked word is reached great 
• are must be taken to avoid emphasizing it too 
strongly, and giving it unreasonable prominence. It 
requires an ordinary, not an extraordinary accent. On 
reaching the accented word the music of the chant 
commences a tempo ; therefore, the accent-marked word 
should receive nothing more than an ordinary first-beat 
accent. It is very important that this should always be 
carefully remembered. 

It may be well, for the sake of completeness, to state at 
this point that when there is only one word in the 



recitation, the musical form must override elocutional 
rules. A familiar example is in the Gloria, 

and | to the | Ho . ly | Ghost.|| 
the word " and," though only a conjunction, mast have 
two full beats. 

The several divisions of the "imaginary bar" must 
now be considered. The " imaginary bar " is equal to 
the value of a semibreve, or one whole bar of the metrical 
part of the chant. It should be divided according to 
the exigencies of the words. It is said, as an objection to 
its use, that " the singers skip over the syllables which 
intervene between the marked syllable and the cadence, 
so that they are scarcely audible." If this be so it is the 
fault of the choirmaster in allowing it to be done, and 
not of the "imaginary bar." The words, or syllables 
of the " imaginary bar " should have — as nearly as 
possible — notes of definite length, of which every one 
should be audible. 

"When the "imaginary bar" begins at the first word 

of the reciting-note, the recitation is practically annulled. 


Lord, re- | -member | David. || 

Taking the preface to the Cathedral Psalter as an 
authority, the " imaginary bar " will be divided into two, 
three, four, or five (rarely) notes according to the number 
of the words contained in it. Instead of giving a 
number of perplexing rules, I think it will serve a more 
practical purpose if I give some examples of the divisions 
of the " imaginary bar," with musical notes, from the Te 
Deum as pointed in the Cathedral Psalter. The 
commencement of the " imaginary bar " is shown by the 
wavy bar line. 

Two words, or syllables in the "imaginary bar" — 


I. I I 

t~ r 

1. We ac- know-ledge Thee to be tho Lord. 


\-G> G—\-0 II i O ' 0— \ 

! I l|i I 

3. To thee all an -gels cry a - loud, — not an - gels. 
i I I j I I i I I II [ I. I I Ml 

5. Ho - ly, ho - ly, ho- ly, — not Ho - ly, — nor Holy, 
j I I Ml I I ! II . 

9. The no- ble army of martyrs,— not no - ble. 

I I I I I I 

20. We therefore pray Thee help Thy servants 

Three words, or syllables — 


-G> \ 

6. Heaven and earth are full of the ma - jes - ty. 

I I I j I I I I I I. 

-0 — — & — ]-© — — \-0 — <s»— — 

7. The gL :ious compa- ny of the a - postles. 

i i i i i i i 

13. Al - so the Ho - ly Ghost. 

i i I r^i 

-& e? — \-g> — & — f-<s>- 

26. to keep us this day with - out sin. 

Tour words, or syllables — 

I Nil I I 

-0 0' \-G> €31 1— & 

4. To Thee cher- u - bin and ser - aph - in. 

) I I S \| i II 

\-0 — o m-0- |-€? — g>— 1-& 

16. When thou tookc^t up-6n Thee to de - liv - er man. 

Although expressed in definite notes, the above ex- 
amples must be sung somewhat approximately, but every 


syllable can be, and should be made distinctly audible. 
It would convey a much clearer idea if they could be 
illustrated viva voce, but it is hoped they will be 
understood as they are here presented. It will be 
noticed that there may be two or three ways of dividing 
the " imaginary bar." Natural feeling on the part of 
the choirmaster, combined with a careful study of 
elocutionary principles, should dictate the proper 
divisions. Dr. Elvey uses four different kinds of 
type to indicate the various divisions, but more recent 
Fsalters only mark the commencement of the " imaginary 
bar," and leave it to the good sense of choirmasters to 
divide it. Although I have advocated that there should 
be as few marks as possible, it is sometimes a helpful 
reminder to put two accent marks where the "imaginary 
bar" has to be divided into two equal parts (two minims). 

S I I 

We therefore pray Thee help Thy servants : 
in order to guard against its being rendered, 
(I. Ml 

We therefore pray Thee help Thy servants. 

Perhaps some may think the accent ought to fall on the 
word " Thee," but in that case the important word 
"pray" would not receive sufficient notice. Study and 
experience will show the most natural rendering. It is 
important to remember there must be no break between 
the reciting-note and the accent mark. 

If the indications here given are followed out, every 
word and syllable of every verse will be distinctly heard 
in its proper sense. Of course constant study and 
practice arc absolutely essential to acquire smoothness ; 
but when once the principles of correct chanting are 
understood, and good habits are formed, all difficulties 


\rill speedily vanish away, and it will be found that the 
accents " will have fallen in pleasant place?." 

When the recitation is once passed and the cadence 
begins, the remainder of the chant is delightfully easy. 
When two notes in the cadence are slurred they should not 
be hurried. A beautiful effect can often be realised by the 
slur being "bowed out," as it were. Example, 

He that hath clean hands and a | pure | heart. || 
If the first note to the word "pure" is slightly dwelt 
upon, and both notes carefully phrased, the result will be 
very pleasing. 

It is important to guard against what has been 
termed the " rat-tat " effect produced when two 
words or syllables have to be sung to the last note of the 
cadence Example, 

" Holy | ho . ly | holy." 
The last word should be divided (approximately) thus: — 

-3 — »— r- 

ho - ly, — not ho-ly. 

In practising chanting, begin by singing the words 
slowly. Heading them aloud to the choir from the 
pointed Psalter, slowly, naturally, and with good elocution, 
will often prove very helpful. Some advise reciting the 
words to a monotone before singing them to chant music. 
I think it is better to wed them at once, providing they are 
sung slowly to begin with. The choirmaster should make 
a note of all the difficult and ambiguous verses before 
going to the practice. He should be prepared to pattern 
them, and should insist upon their repetition till there is 
no doubt about their going smoothly and without 
hesitation. Happily there are many verses that will be 
so easy to sing that they will go correctly at first sight. 
By picking out and noting the difficult ones much 
time will be saved at the practice. When the music and 


words have become quite familiar, and there is no hitch 
all the way along the recitation, the speed may be 
quickened ; but directly any words begin to be indistinct, 
or run into one another, or become the least bit inaudible, 
the pace should be immediately reduced. 

Attention should be given to the sentiment of each 
psalm. A penitential Psalm like the 51st should be sung 
slowly and in a very sustained manner. On the other 
hand the 135th Psalm should be as jubilant and bright as 
it is possible to make it. The former might be likened 
orchestrally to "muted strings," the latter to the "full 
orchestra." Meditative Psalms like the 23rd should be 
sung in a tranquil, sustained manner. Psalms like 
the 09th, which change their character from grave to 
jubilant, require special treatment (see p. 104). 

Before leaving this part of the subject, let me with all 
earnestness emphasize the following important maxim. 
Always practise your chanting without accompaniment. 

The Chant. 

The Chant exercises an important influence on the 
chanting, as those who have had any experience in the 
matter will readily acknowledge. A tuneful chant, easy 
to sing, will carry the words along beautifully; but a dull, 
uninteresting chant, will be a weariness of the flesh of 
every chanter. 

Most Psalters arc issued with chants on the same page 
as the words. This is much the better plan, provided the 
chants are carefully selected, as it avoids the incon- 
venience of holding two books. Frequently there is a 
choice of chants, or one on the opposite page, and one of 
these should be invariably used. A chant to go well 
should be interesting, tuneful, and free from chromatic 
intervals. Scientific chants may delight the heart of a 


University Professor, but unless they are tuneful — which 
they seldom are — they only become hindrances, instead of 
helps, to the chanting. Chants with a number of passing 
notes — in the Jones in D style — should be avoided. 
Happily they are passing into antiquarian regions, and 
their progress thither should not be retarded for one 

The reciting note should be of medium pitch. It should 
not be above C (second space) in the treble, unless in a 
very short psalm like the 150th, when the next note above, 
D, might be the limit. Low reciting notes in the bass are 
often a drawback to the flow of the recitation, unless — as 
is frequently not the case — the bass voices are excep- 
tionally good in their low register. A study of the 
productions of the best chant composers, Goss, Turle, 
Hopkins, &c, will show how very rarely they make the 
bass reciting note below C, second space of bass clef. 
When there is no alternative chant, a low bass reciting- 
note may be altered to the octave above, providing, of 
course, that the progression of the part is not seriously 
affected, and that it does not cause the bass to rise above 
the tenor. For a good example see Soaper's well-known 
chant in A (or G), where the use of the upper, instead of 
the lower A, gives a fillip to the bass reciting-note. 

It is sometimes advisable to avoid chants that have 
a dotted minim in the recitation, as it may give some 
trouble in dividing out the " imaginary bar." Also it 
is better not to use chants with two notes (in any 
part) at the last bar of the cadence — using the word 
cadence in the chant connection — because when there 
are three syllables to be sung to the two notes, the division 
is frequently awkward. When there are never more than 
two words in the cadence bar of the whole psalm it does 
not matter. Sometimes a chant requires transposition, 
either up or down, according to the sentiment of the 


psalm, the state of the weather, and other causes. 
Generally speaking it should not be transposed more than 
half-a-tone either way, and then care must be taken that 
it does not exceed the compass prescribed for the reciting- 

When a separate chant book is used good judgment is 
required in securing a satisfactory mating of words and 
music. A jubilant chant for a psalm of praise ; a minor, 
or pathetic chant for a penitential psalm, and so on. A 
fine effect may be made by changing the chant from minor 
to major in the course of the psalm. Example : Psalm 69, 
to "R. Cooke in C minor" to v. 30, then changing it at 
t. 31 to " Lawes in C. " If the first part is sung rather 
slowly and meditatively, and the change to the major 
chant be made suddenly with a full tone, and the time 
slightly accelerated, the effect of this "flood of light," 
after the previous wailing chord, will be grand and moving 
in the extreme. 

Where antiphonal singing is customary, single chants 
may be used if changed at each psalm when more than 
one is sung. Their frequent reiteration, however, 
becomes very tedious to the congregation unless they, as 
well as the choir, sing antiphonally. In most Noncon- 
formist churches the choirs are not strong enough, nor 
are they suitably seated for antiphonal singing, so 
it is much better — for the reason stated above — to 
keep to double chants. Great care must be taken 
to note the repetition of the "second half" of the 
double chant when the verses of the psalm are uneven. 
It is usually, though not always, repeated at the last verse 
of the psalm. 

When the Te Deum is chanted, two chants, a major 
and a minor, should be used to heighten the effect of the 
words. The change should be made at the verse 


commencing " When Thou tookest upon Thee," and the 
change back to the major at " Day by day." Sometimes 
a third chant is used at this point, but the two chants is 
the simpler arrangement. The minor part should be sung 
more slowly, and at the words " Day by day " there should 
be an outburst at the major chord, and the original speed 
resumed. The first chant only should be played over. 
When the Te Deum has 29 verses, as in the Prayer 
Book, and a double chant is used, the "second half" should 
be repeated at v. 9, "The noble army of martyrs," and 
not at v. 15, " Thou art the everlasting Son." Sometimes 
verses 12 and 13 are sung as one, and then there is no 
need to repeat the " second half." The latter part of the 
last verse of the Te Deum will naturally be sung more 
slowly. For some divisions of the " imaginary bars" in 
the Te Deum see p. 98 et seq. 

Chanting metrical psalms is an abomination, for the 
reason that the first and third lines of each stanza (CM.) 
will be rendered as follows : — 

Ex. 1. Great 


the Lord, 

and great - ly 


Ex. 2. He 


the cat 

- er - pil - lar 


There could be no possible objection to the division of 
words in Ex. 1, but Ex. 2 would be ludicrous. This 
style of chanting (as a matter of fact it is not chanting at 
all) is only used in some Presbyterian churches where the 
Scotch Metrical Psalms— dear to Scotch hearts— are still 
retained ; though in consequence of the introduction of 
prose chanting, metrical psalms are being more generally 
sung to metrical tunes, as they always should be. 

There are very few metrical hymns with chant settings. 
Charlotte Elliott's beautiful lyric, " My God, my 


Father, while I stray," to Troyte's chant, is a worthy 
specimen ; but it should be sung as an unmetrical hymn 
to secure the proper accents, and to bring out the full 
beauty of the words. For example, verse one should be 
accented as follows, and each comma duly noted, instead 
of in the gabbling style so frequently heard which 
amounts to murdering this exquisite poem. 

My God, my Father, 
Far from my home, on 
O teach me from my 

while I 
life's rough 
heart to 
will be 


A happy admixture of chant and metrical setting lias 
been provided by Dr. Stainer in his beautiful tune to 
Keble's "Hail, gladdening Light," (A. & M., 18). As in 
the previous example care must be taken to avoid rushing 
the recitation. The first part of line one should not be 
hurried, but deliberately recited and both commas noted. 
It should be : — 

Hail, gladdening Light, of His pure | glory poured. 

HailgladdeningLightHisjtwrg — glory poured . 

with a long pause on "pure" to get into the metrical 
portion of the tune. 

Similarly the following: — 

Worthiest art Thou at all times — to be sung. 

WorthiestThout'alltimes — to be sung. 

The following is a list of some of the pointed Psalters 
with Bible words, with their editors' and publishers' 
names and other particulars. 




Selected psalms, canticles, &c, 


Do. do. 

With music, entire recitation 

With music, no canticles. 
without accent marks. 

Complete Psalms, with music, 
without accent marks. 

Selected psalms, with music. 
entire recitation marked. 

Revised version of psalms with 
music, canticles, &c. 

Complete psalms, without 
music and canticles. 






Hodder & Stoughton 

Hamilton, Adams,& Co. 
Nisbet & Co. 

A. Elliott, Edinburgli. 

J. Curwen & Sons. 


Novello & Co. 







Sir H. Oakeley 

LCbenezer Prout, B.A., 
(music only) 

Rev. Rigby Murray. 
Rev. Dr. Trout beck. 


Congregational Psalmist (Chants). 
Congregational Church Music 

The Office of Praise (Chants) 

The Bible Psalter (all the Psalms) . 

The Presbyterian Psalter, (Prose 
Version) issued in 1886 for 
the United Presbyterian 










Of recently issued Psalters with Bible words, the 
following are undoubtedly the best, as being thoroughly 
practical and useful. 

(1) The Revised Psalter, containing the revised version 
of Psalms (selected), canticles, responses, &c, edited by 
Rev. Rigby Murray. This psalter is provided with a good 
selection of chants, and is supplied with accent marks. 

(2) The Bible Psalter (complete psalms, authorized 
version), pointed by Rev. Dr. Troutbeck, on the plan of 
the Cathedral Psalter, with accent and breath marks, but 
without canticles or music. 

The following collections of chants are recommended : 

(1) The Cathedral Chant Book, edited by Dr. Stainer 
and others. (2) The Westminster Abbey Chants, edited 
by Turle and Bridge. Both published by Novello & Co. 

(3) "A Collection of Chants" by Dr. E. J. Hopkins, 
(Weekes & Co.) Each of these may be purchased for 
one shilling. 

Eor interesting and instructive literature on the subject 
of chants and chanting, the reader is referred to the 
following. Preface to Stephen Elvey's Psalter (Parker) ; 
Preface to Oakeley's Bible Psalter (Nisbet) ; Preface to 
Cathedral Psalter (Novello) ; Preface to E. J. Hopkins's 
collection of ''Single chants in four-part harmony " 
(Weekes & Co.). Also the articles on "Chant" in 
Stainer & Barrett's "Dictionary of Musical Terms" 
(Novello), and in Grove's " Dictionary of Music," by Rev. 
T. Helmore (Macmillan); and to Mr. J. Spencer Curwen's 
"Studies in Worship Music," 1st series, pp. 113-126 
(J. Curwen & Sons). 





The question " Do you use Anthems ; if so, are they sung 
by the choir, or by the congregation and choir?" was 
answered as follows. "Choir alone," 91. "Congregation 
and choir," 98. " jNTo anthems sung," 35. Some of the 
answers " Choir alone " are significantly qualified by 
"offertory only," 5; "Occasionally," 33. This reduces 
the number regularly having anthems for " Choir alone " 
to 53, and in some of these it is very possible that the 
congregation have the opportunity of joining if they care 
to embrace it. A great many of the 98 " Congregation 
and choir" are qualified with "the congregation only 
join in to a very limited extent." 
Subjoined are some of the replies. 

" We have anthems every 2nd and 4th Sunday in en eh 
month, morning and evening of each day, by the choir 

"Yes, by choir alone. "We have sung Gounod's 'Send 
out Thy light,' Bennett's ' God is a Spirit,' Elvey's ' Where- 
withal shall a young man ? ' and others of the same class. 
I consider that a service is incomplete which does not as fai- 
ns possible meet the tastes of all, and that it is quite as great 
a mistake to have it all congregational as all <-//<n'r. It you 
have it all congregational you offend the cultured musical 


class. If you have it all choir you offend the uncultured. 
The introduction of an anthem sung by the choir is a relief 
and satisfaction to the musical, and is not, or ought not to 
be, felt oppressive or objectionable to the unmusical, seeing 
that they can join in the rest of the worship. Besides, the 
anthem is the grand magnet for keeping a voluntary choir 
together at practices and on Sundays." [This is excellently 

' ' We sing an anthem at the commencement of each 
service. It ensures the punctual attendance of the choir, a 
great desideratum." 

"Yes; the congregation are expected to join, but I can 
never hear them. Our congregation is noted for criticising." 

"Yes, two each Sabbath; but they are mostly, and will 
continue to be I fear, sung by the choir. To this I see no 
objection. 1 can see no reason why if one prays for all, a 
few should not sing for all. To my mind a well chosen and 
well rendered anthem is frequently as good in its influence 
as very many sermons. This applies to solos also." 

"Yes; and the congregation in all cases very heartily 
join with the choir in the singing of them." [Scotland.] 

"I think anthems ought to be sung by the choir alone, 
provided they are sung well and in the spirit of devotion 
and with an utter absence of self-display. Otherwise they 
are better not sung at all." 

"We sing two anthems at each service. The first is taken 
from the ' Congregational Anthem Book,' in which the 
congregation join; but the second is either an anthem or 
chorus for the choir alone." 

" Yes, the congregation join. I think they find them less 
difficult to join in than prose chanting." 

" Yes, by congregation and choir. During offertories and 
on special occasions the choir sing a longer and fuller 
anthem alone, besides the ordinary anthem." 

"Anthems are sung on special occasions, such as 
Christmas, Harvest Thanksgiving, &c. We look upon an 
anthem as a ' sermon in song,' and therefore not intended to 
be sung by the congregation." 

The anthem, as understood in its modern sense, covers 
a wide range of vocal and instrumental execution. On 
the one hand there is the stately, hymn-tune simplicity 
of Tye and Tarrant, and on the other the modern 
chromaticisms of Gounod and Dvorak. A glance at the 
published music reports of St. Paul's Cathedral will show 


the eclecticism in the choice of anthems sung there. All 
schools and styles— English and Foreign, Protestant and 
Roman Catholic — are laid under contribution to supply 
the repertory of the anthem. 

The average congregational anthem book is a very 
hotch-potch collection, and includes all sorts and con- 
ditions of composers and their works. It contains some 
very easy anthems, and others that, for an untrained 
congregation, will be found difficult and, therefore, 
wwcongregational. The former usually consist of a poor, 
weak melody, and the harmony (weaker still) will be 
limited to the chords of the tonic, dominant, and sub- 
dominant, with their inversions. Compared with literature 
it is just the difference between a tale written in 
monosyllables and a chapter of "David Copperfield." Of 
course there are exceptions — e.g., Warrant's beautiful 
" Lord, for Thy tender mercies' sake," and Sullivan's 
"Lead, kindly Light" — but unfortunately such specimens 
are far too rare. Then, on the other hand, there will 
he found anthems that require careful preparation even 
by a trained choir. For instance, those containing points 
of imitation fW. H. Monk's "The Lord is my strength"); 
high notes in soprano (Gounod's "Ave Yerum"), which 
will be sung by many men's voices two octaves below 
their legitimate pitch ; syncopated rhythms (Goss's " 
taste and see"), where the unrhythmical-feeling portion 
(always a large one) of the congregation will be all out of 
time; passages for sopranos only (Stainer's "What are 
these?") unhesitatingly bellowed out by men at the 
octave below, &c, &c. Many other instances might be 
given, but the atrocities here enumerated are enough 
to make any musical person's hair stand on end, 
and to cause regret that the people who commit them 
have so little regard for their fellow worshippers. 
Another drawback to a satisfactory rendering of 
anthems of this class is caused by the different 


voices — S. A. T.B — being promiscuously scattered about 
amongst the congregation, instead of their being 
concentrated as in the choir ; consequently the effect of 
unity is lost. 

It may possibly be said " Why not always have an 
anthem so easy that all can join?" But where is the 
line to be drawn ? What might be considered easy by 
some, might be thought difficult by others. Most easy 
anthems are so insipid and characterless that fairly 
musical persons (and their number is rapidly increasing) 
would far rather be without them, and would much 
prefer a good hymn-tune instead. 

The introduction of a more musically interesting 
anthem, although it may be even more devotional than a 
very easy one, will, in all probability, raise a storm of 
indignation from one or two conservative office-bearers and 
others who have no sympathy with music, and who 
rather repress than encourage anything more than an 
elementary use of it in Divine worship. They will say 
"Why introduce that which the people cannot sing?" 
If they are a specimen of "the people," the answer 
would naturally be "If we waited till you could sing 
it as it ought to be sung, we should have to wait a 
very long time." Men of this stamp are far too 
narrow in their sympathies. They seem to forget that 
there are a large number of young people in the 
congregation to whom a dull service is not only an infliction, 
but one that offers them every inducement to go elsewhere,, 
or worse still, to abstain from attending a place of 
worship altogether. Instead of helping to extend the 
church, their policy only hinders its progress, though 
it may be unconsciously to themselves. Their intentions 
may be good, but they arc sadly mistaken ones. Unless 
the minister has exceptional preaching gifts, office- 
bearers and others will do well to encourage a bright, 
attractive service, or the consequences in the future 


may bo very serious to the life and prosperity of 
their church. 

But to return to the anthem. Experience proves that 
unless the anthems are very easy a certain proportion 
of the congregation (more or less large according to its 
musical culture) cannot possibly join in them without 
spoiling the musical and devotional effect. Xo wonder 
that a well-known musician said that, while attending 
a service during his vacation and sitting among the 
congregation, " I was obliged to pinch myself in order 
to counteract the effect of the discordant noises around 
me." An easy anthem, is all very well now and again, 
but a continuous round of such is undesirable for the 
reasons already given. 

But what about the anthems that require more careful 
singing, and that are beyond the musical capacities of the 
majority of the congregation? Must they never be sung? 
If so, there is no need to discuss the matter further. 
Popular opinion will, however, decidedly say they should 
be sung. What then ? 

Is there any good reason — either scriptural or of 
principle — why the choir of the church should not 
sing some, if not all, the anthems, and the congregation 
praise in spirit ? The minister is the deputy of the 
whole congregation in speaking their prayers. Cannot a 
section of the congregation, who are specially qualified by 
natural gifts and training, be allowed to sing some of 
the praises of the remainder ? Surely one is as logical 
as the other. Here, then, is a suggestion for the solution 
of many difficulties. Let the choir alone sing the anthem, 
and while it is being sung let the congregation " make 
melody in their hearts." 

One derivative claimed for the word anthem is the 
Greek Anthos, a flower, on the ground that it is the 
"flower" of the musical service. Is it not much better 
to enjoy to the full the fragrance of this "flower," 



instead of destroying its bloom and distorting its form 
and beauty? There can only be one common-sense 
answer to such a question, and that, of course, an 
affirmative one ; but the mere putting of it may raise 
a storm of objections. Some of these I shall now 
endeavour to meet. 

It will be said that when the choir sing alone it 
becomes a " mere performance" Now the real meaning 
of the word "perform" is "to do thoroughly." There- 
fore, the better the performance the more thoroughly it 
is done. But "performance" in this connection is 
generally said in such a manner as to insinuate that the 
performers (the "thorough doers") are not actuated by 
proper motives in the doing thereof. In fact, it is no use 
disguising the matter, all members of choirs have been 
looked upon in the past more as singing heathen than 
worshipping Christians. Such a calumny deserves to 
recoil upon the heads of those who make it. There is 
just as much reason to infer that the minister's public 
prayers and sermons are "performances" in the sense 
here indicated. My firm belief is that if church and 
chapel choirs are treated with courtesy and consideration, 
if they are made to feel the responsibilities of their 
important duties and high office, they will add to all 
their performances ("thorough doings") that fervour and 
devotional feeling without which all religious exercises 
are mere shams. 

Another objection may be "that anthem singing by 
the choir is not scriptural." I am inclined to think 
that it is sanctioned in scripture, nay, that we are 
even commanded to " admonish one another in psalms, 
and hymns, and spiritual songs." Moreover, are there 
not many things done as matters of convenience and 
expediency in church services and organizations for 
which there is no scriptural authority whatever ? There 
is no Bible warrant for the organ, yet that particular 


kind of instrument is almost universally admitted to 
be a great assistance in the praise service. Or for a 
more striking and familiar example take that modern 
institution — the Sunday School. But this is trenching 
upon ground beyond the scope of this work. 

Then there is the objection on the ground of tradition. 
-'It never has been so, why should it be done now? 
How many more innovations?" and so on. Time has 
altered many practices and methods of church life and 
work, and even theology is not what it used to be in 
the "good old days." Tradition is only a matter of 
sentiment, and not of practical utility. The tradition 
of the stage coach is all very well ; but how many 
business men would be willing to spend 19 or 20 hours 
on the journey from London to Manchester on a winter's 
day, when they could travel from Euston in 4 hours and 
1 5 minutes ? In matters of expediency, tradition stands 
a very poor chance. What our great-grandfathers did 
in their days no doubt suited their capacities and emotions 
very well, but it does not follow that it is expedient for 
us to keep in the same groove and to follow their 
example either in our mode of travelling or in our 
mode of worship. 

Then I can imagine some saying, '-'This is the thin 
end of the wedge, we shall have the church turned 
into a concert room and all congregational music will 
be done away with." Xot so, I am suggesting that the 
anthems only should be sung by the choir, and their 
doing so will not deter the whole congregation from 
joining in the three or four hymns which should always 
be included in every service. If there is any fear of 
doing all the praise of the congregation by deputy 
— in the same manner as the prayers, even to the 
extent of the Lord's prayer in some churches, 
are offered by deputy — then, by all means banish the 
anthem entirely. 


Then there may be some ministers who, on reading 
these pages, will say, " These organ fellows will be 
turning us out of our pulpits before long. We shall 
have to give up everything to these musical enthusiasts. 
The sermon will sink into insignificance, and our 
supremacy over the service will be a thing of the past." 
I believe it to be the earnest desire of my brother 
organists, or at least the majority of them, to be the ready 
helpers of their minister by making the musical service 
bright and attractive to those who worship, and by 
this means to cheer and stimulate him in his important 
duties and ministrations without any thought of rivalry. 

Supposing these objections — where they exist— to have 
been met, and the suggestion be adopted that the choir 
alone sing the anthem as an experiment, there are one 
or two important points to be considered. First, care 
must be taken that it is sung well, both musically and 
devotionally. If it is sung for mere display and without 
any earnestness of purpose, the sooner it is put a 
stop to the better. Secondly, in "giving out" the 
anthem the minister should not announce it thus : — 
"The choir will now sing the 19th anthem," but rather, 
"Let us join in silent worship while we listen to the 
singing of those well-known words (or, that earnest 
appeal) ' taste and see how gracious the Lord is,' &c." 

It may possibly allay any friction caused by the first 
introduction of an anthem to be sung by the choir alone,, 
if it can be sung while the offertory is being taken. 
After a time, when the choir-anthem has become an 
institution, it may be transferred to some other part of 
the service. The offertory is now frequently taken 
while an organ voluntary is played, there ought not, 
therefore, to be any objection to a vocal voluntary 
during its collection. Some offertory sentences might 
be appropriately introduced, the minister reading out 
each sentence before it is sung. 


Another plan — which was introduced at our nionthly 
services of song at old Surrey Chapel — is for the anthem 
to be immediately followed by a well-known hymn — the 
hymn, in fact, being a sequel to the anthem. The words 
of the hymn should be in sympathy with those of the 
anthem, and the tune a familiar one and in the same 
or some related key. For instance, Stainer's "What 
are these?" followed by "How bright those glorious 
spirits shine ; " Macfarren's " The Lord is my Shepherd," 
followed by "The King of Love my Shepherd is;" 
Hopkins's "Let us now go even unto Bethlehem," 
followed by "Hark, the herald angels sing;" many 
other anthems may be similarly and effectively treated. 
A grand example of linking anthem and hymn together 
is afforded in Mendelssohn's masterly " Hymn of Praise," 
where, after the brilliant and exciting chorus "The 
night is departing," comes the calm and stately 
chorale "Let all men praise the Lord." The chorale is 
not felt to be by any means an anti-climax to the chorus, 
in fact, the chorus would be sadly incomplete without 
its beautiful sequel. Mr. G. 13. Allen's "0 worship 
the Lord " is written on this plan. It is in the key 
of F, and should be followed by the congregation's 
singing "We praise, we worship Thee, God," to the 
tune " Innocents," in F, of course. Nos. 59 to 64 of 
the "Church Choralist " anthems are similarly treated; 
these and the above mentioned are published by Messrs. 
J. Curwen & Sons. 

In addition to the musical and devotional advantages 
accruing from the plan of delegating the anthem to 
the choir while the congregation silently join, there 
is yet another in its favour. It helps to secure 
a better and more regular attendance of the choir 
at the services and practices. Choirs should always 
be zealous and ambitious, provided these qualities 
are tempered with discretion, and it is a satisfactory 


outlet for their zeal and ambition to allow them to 
sing the anthem by themselves. Only those who have 
had experience in the management of voluntary choirs 
know how difficult it is to keep up interest in the work 
when there is only very little to be done in the musical 
service, and anything in reason that will stimulate that 
interest should be encouraged. 

Finally, if all the conditions herein put forward 
are fulfilled, and if the anthems are considered to be 
devotional worship and not musical displays by those 
who sing and those who silently join, I am sure 
churches who decide to give these suggestions a fair 
trial will have little cause to regret it. The following 
extracts on this subject will be read with interest 
as confirming what has been stated above. The first 
is from the leader column of a staid Wesleyan news- 
paper* in reference to worship music, and is as 
follows — 

"We remember a large congregation in a fashionable 
north-country watering-place awed into breathless silence 
by the singing of ' Peace, doubting heart,' to the tune 
' Nathaniel.' The minister had taught the choir to under- 
stand the words, and to throw spiritual force into the tune, 
in his own house. At first the congregation joined in the 
praise. But presently, by a strangely spontaneous instinct, 
the people stood in rapt silence, many with tearful eyes, 
while those sweet young voices — all consecrated— sang the 
pathetic words : — 

' When darkness intercepts the skies.' " 

The second, from an interesting article on "German 
Protestant Church Music," by Mr. J. Spencer Curwen,f 
is very much to the point. 

* The Methodist Recorder, Sept. 3rd, 1886. 
t " Studios in Worship Music," 2nd Scries. J. Cunvcn & Sons. 


" In England, at the present time— and especially among 
the Nonconforming bodies— great mischief is done by the 
want of a bold separation between choir music and congre- 
gational music. The formation and improvement of choirs 
is a feature of the times, but the notion still lingers that 
whatever music is sung in the service, the congregation 
ought audibly to join in it. Choir and congregation are 
like an ill-matched pair of horses; the one wants to go 
fast, the other to go slow. The choir have a natural and 
praiseworthy desire to offer the best in the service ; the 
congregation, with an ever-changing personnel, including 
many unmusical persons, seldom or never meeting for 
rehearsal, must, if they are to sing, be content with a few 
simple tunes often repeated. How unreasonable, then, 
either for the choir to be confined to a few familiar hymn- 
tunes, or for the congregation to join in an anthem by Goss 
or Barnby ! A separation of the duties of each would be 
a gain to both. The choir would then lead the congregation 
in a limited round of fairly simple hymn-tunes and chants, 
and once in each service would sing by itself an anthem, 
a chorus, a more difficult and less familiar hymn-tune, or 
one of its members would contribute a solo. This, as it 
seems to me, is the present-day lesson to be learnt by 
English people from the German Protestants. I do not stop 
to argue that singing in which we do not ourselves join, may 
be spiritually profitable. This form of employing music in 
worship is more liable to abuse than the purely congre- 
gational song, but the Nonconformists are the last people 
who should object to it, for they follow almost all prayers 
without audibly joining. If we can follow speech, we may 
surely follow song. Do we not derive spiritual blessing 
from an oratorio, or failing that, from Mr. Sankey ? " 

A list of the best known anthem books for congregational 
use is here appended. Mention must also be made of 
the large variety of excellent anthems, in separate 
numbers, published by Novello & Co. ; Metzler & Co. ; 
Boosey & Co. ; and by J. Curwen & Sons in their 
"Choral Handbook," "Church Choralist," and other 





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It will be noticed that the Free Church and the United 
Presbyterians in Scotland call their anthems "sentences," 
which is a distinction without a difference. Why they 
are so called is not quite apparent to a Southerner. 


The question " Have solos ever been sung at the ordinary 
Sunday services?" was replied to as follows. " No," 
136. "Yes," 88. The latter have some important 
qualifications; e.g., "Only Sankey's," 1; "Evangelistic 
services only," 5; "Frequently," 13; "Occasionally," 
16 ; " Only when they occur in anthems," 25. 

Subjoined are some of the replies. 

''Often, and sometimes solo hymns— solo every other 

" Yes. I find it works well to let the leading voices of 
each part occasionally take a solo." 

" Yes, frequently, and they are much appreciated." 

"Yes, with considerable misgiving as to its reception. 
We tried it in Tours's "While the earth remaineth," and the 
tenor solo, sung by a lady (! !), was received with great 

" Thank God ! No ! ! " [A minister.] 

" No, but they are coming directly." 

"No. In an anthem like Spohr's 'As pants the hart' 
the first trebles sing the solo, and it answers very well." 

"Yes, at special services for the working-classes." [A 

" No ; and I am sure they would be strongly objected to." 

"No; being a Congregational Church such a measure 
would not be in harmony with its principles." 

"Yes. We have considerable liberty as to what we intro- 
duce. On one occasion after the minister had given a special 
sermon on 'Home,' 'Home, sweet home' was sung as a 
soprano solo, the whole choir joining in the chorus." 

"No. I think it would be a draw if one could be^sung 
during the offertory." 

" No. Our people are too puritanical ; they would think 
I wanted to desecrate the place if I mentioned it." 

" Once only, and it raised such a storm that it is thought 
desirable not to repeat it." 


"Very rarely indeed. They are objected to by some on 
the ground that it partakes of the nature of a concert — that 
is if the solo occurs in an anthem. If it is a Moody and 
Sankey thing the very same people like the solo verse. This 
shows the amazing inconsistency of some people." 

"No; but such a course has been contemplated as an 
alternative to the collection voluntary." 

Previous to the advent of Mr. Sankey in this country 
about twelve years ago, there was very little solo singing 
at ordinary public worship, except in the Established 
Church. However much organists of Nonconformist 
churches disappove of Mr. Sankey's American pro- 
ductions, they must give him credit for having broken 
through stereotyped customs in their services in regard 
to the vocal solo. However, it must be acknowledged 
that solos are very much the exception and not the rule 
in ordinary Nonconformist services. " rest in the 
Lord" may be played on the organ, but it must not h& 
sung. The melody may be heard, but not the words. 
The vocal solo is considered to be of excellent use 
at a mission or special Evangelistic service, but only at 

There can be no doubt that a solo devotionally as 
well as artistically sung, may be a " sermon in song," 
but it is important that both these conditions should 
be fulfilled. Airs like Handel's " He was despised," 
Mendelssohn's " If with all your hearts," Coenen's 
'-'Corne unto Me," Gounod's "There is a green hill," 
if sung with heartfelt fervour can hardly fail to exercise 
a wonderful power for good upon some hearts. 

If the solo is admitted it should not be used too 
frequently, and then the air selected should be appro- 
priate to the occasion and in keeping with devotion. 
All sacred songs and airs are not necessarily suited 
for Divine worship, so care should be exercised in the 
choice. The air may be followed by a quartet, a 
chorus, or a hymn for the congregation, in harmony 
with it. 


When a solo occurs in an anthem it ought to be 
sung by one voice, and not by all the voices of the 
particular part in chorus. A good effect may be produced 
by having one verse of a hymn sung as a solo, following- 
the example of Mr. Sankey, another as a quartet, — 
each alternate verse, or the refrain (where there is one) 
of each verse being sung by the congregation. A solo, 
if suitably selected, sung while the people are kneeling 
would become a prayer in song, and that attitude 
might prevent the worshippers from looking at the singer, 
and help to keep their thoughts concentrated upon the 
words that are being sung. 

The power of the solo has been acknowledged in 
the modern Revival, or Mission services ; in fact, 
it has now become an institution. Therefore, it 
would seem as if there could not be any reasonable 
objection to its occasional use in ordinary services, 
within certain denned limits. Many a gospel invitation 
might well be sealed with " Come unto Him " from 
Handel's immortal " Messiah," or " that thou hadst 
hearkened " by Sullivan, and similar solos. How many 
earnest ministers would only be too glad to have such a 
carrying power for their sermons if they could get it and 
dare use it. The Rev. H. R. Haweis* relates an incident 
how that on one occasion he noticed a very poor and aged 
woman in tears during the service. He spoke to her at 
the close, and enquired the cause of her grief. "Ob, 
sir." she replied, "that blessed, blessed song in the 
middle of the prayers!" She could say no more ; but she 
was alluding to Sterndale Bennett's pathetic solo from 
the "Woman of Samaria" — "0 Lord, Thou hast 
searched me out." 

I have sometimes thought it would remove prejudice 
from the introduction of a solo, and at the same time 
be an immense help to him, if the minister were to sing 

* "Music and Morals," 13th edition, p. 117. 


one himself in the course of, or in addition to, his sermon. 
However, I hardly thought such a desideratum had 
been reached until I read the following in connection 
with the proceedings of the Wesleyan Conference in 

"At the young men's gathering in connection with 
the recent Wesleyan Conference, the Rev. Joseph Ehodes, 
precentor of the conference, said : — ' 1 have a great message 
from my Master, and I pray God will help me to deliver that 
message to you in such a way that you may remember 
it. It seems to me that there are many in this congregation 
to-night to whom the Lord has been speaking by many voices. 
May the Lord grant to-night the ear and the understanding- 
heart.' He then sang with great expression the song, 
' If with all your hearts,' from Mendelssohn's Eh'j nh." 

What a splendid opportunity for the consecration and 
power of song when coming from an understanding 
heart ! All ministers do not possess the natural qualifi- 
cations for the singing of solos, but they might seek the 
assistance of some sympathetic friend who does, and 
who would willingly help in sending the message home 
to the hearts of those who, if they "truly seek Him, 
shall ever surely find Him." 


The question "Do you sing the Canticles, Te Deums, 
tyc, to services or chants ? If so, please name a few of the 
settings ' received 221 definite replies. 75 "Do not 
sing them;" 44 "To chants only;" 102 "To services, 
and sometimes to chants." The Te Deum only is sung to 
a service in the great majority of instances. 

Most of the replies are statements of fact and not of 
opinion, so these are scarcely answers to quote from. 
Several speak very disrespectfully and contemptuously 
of Jackson in F, others apologetically add " We have 
Jackson now and then just to please the old people." 

\X III EMS, ETC. 125 

One correspondent makes some excellent remarks on the 
subject which deserve to be quoted : — 

' ' The Te Deum is the only Canticle we sing to a service. 
Jackson's is, of course, popular because it is well known. 
Dykes's and Smart's (both in F) are also liked ; but the 
congregation are rather impatient in learning a new service, 
and rather uncharitable if they cannot sing at once what the 
choir have taken weeks to prepare." 

The word Service is here spoken of in its musical sense 
— a setting of one or all of the Canticles. The etymology 
of the word in this limited application is somewhat 
obscure. Dr. Stainer, in a valuable article on the subject,* 1 
endeavours to explain it in connection with a popular 
use of the word "service." He says : — 

" Originally signifying the duty rendered by a servant 
or slave, it afterwards became used roughly for the persons 
rendering the service, just as we now hear people speak of 
the ' Civil Service,' meaning the body of men who do the 
the sorvice, and of a ' service ' of railway trains, meaning a 
regular group or succession. From this conception the 
word obtains a further meaning of a ' set ' of things having 
a definite use ; for example, a ' dinner- service,' a ' set ' of 
things for use at dinner ; or, again, a ' service ' of plate, a 
• set ' of gold or silver vessels, &c. Although an analysis 
meaning of the musical term seems not hitherto to have 
been suggested, its correctness appears so highly probable 
that we shall in future understand by ' service ' merely a 
set of canticles or other movements prepared by a composer 
for use at a complete function." 

The Te Deum is almost the only canticle sung to a 
service in Nonconformist churches, and, judging from the 
returns already quoted, the number of composers whose 
names are given more than four times is exceedingly 
limited. An analysis of the different settings of the Te 
Deum mentioned may be of interest : — 

* Grove's "Dictionary of Music," vol. iii, p. 471 (Macmillan). 


Jackson in F 79 times. 

J. L. Hopkins in G 17 ,, 

Dykes in F 17 ,, 

Smart in F 12 ,, 

Goss in A or F 10 „ 

"Vaughan in D or G 7 ,, 

Sullivan (no key given, probably D) . . 4 ,, 

Macfarren in G (unison setting) .... 4 ,, 

Tours in F 3 „ 

Stainer (no key) 3 ,, 

To these must be added 44 other composers, too numerous 
to mention in detail. 

From this list it will be seen that Jackson in F 
decidedly leads the way. The question may fairly be 
asked, " Is it not time to let this effete, insipid, and 
antiquated production rest from its long labours ? " While 
most of the old tunes have given place to a more modern 
and, at the same time, more sympathetic style of melody 
and harmony, Jackson in F to a large extent holds the 
field in regard to Te Deums. A few details about its 
composer may prove interesting. 

William Jackson, known as Jackson of Exeter (to 
distinguish him from his namesake of Masham), was born 
in that city in 1730, where his father was a grocer. He 
became in 174 8 a pupil of John Travers in London; 
returning to his native city to earn his living. In 1777 
he was appointed organist of Exeter Cathedral. He died 
of dropsy, July 12th, 1803. Jackson wrote a set 
of ''Twelve songs" which were so simple, elegant, 
and original, that they immediately became popular 
throughout the kingdom. In addition to other vocal 
and instrumental music — including two operas — he 
also produced some literary work which was well 
received. His church music, all of which is exceedingly 
feeble, was published in 1820 by James Paddon, organist 
of Exeter Cathedral.* 

* For further details, see Grove's " Dictionary of Music," vol. ii, p. 27. 


From this it will be seen that Jackson in F is sixty-six 
years old. Considering its weakness from its birth and 
the hard life it has led, it might surely give place to some 
more worthy settings. Good music will always keep, but 
this renowned Te Deuni cannot possibly be placed in such 
a category. 

The most popular and, at the same time, congre- 
gational Te Deunis next to Jackson are J. L. Hopkins in 
G and Dykes in F. Both are easy, melodious and 
interesting to sing, and immeasurably superior to Jackson. 
Smart in F is a noble specimen of Te Deum music. It is 
rather more elaborate and difficult than either Hopkins or 
Dykes, but it is not beyond the capacities of a cultured 
congregation. When well sung it is thrilling, and it 
brings out the great beauty of the grand Ambrosian hymn 
clearly and effectively. 

Hubert Parry in D is well suited for congregational 
purposes and deserves to be better known. It is chiefly 
in unison, but tuneful, effective and easy. Garrett in 
F also deserves honourable mention. Beyond those already 
named there are very few easy yet popular Te Deums. 
The hymn itself is so grand and so full of varied senti- 
ment that composers, both ancient and modern, have 
uaturally lavished upon it the fullest resources of their 
art. Dr. Stainer, in the article already mentioned (p. 125) 
referring to " congregational " settiugs of the Canticles in 
chant-services, says, " their need is still so pressing 
that composers of ability who are willing to lay aside 
their own artistic aims and don the strait-jacket of a 
congregation's limited requirements and powers deserve 
all encouragement and gratitude." Omitting the qualifi- 
cation "chant-service," and still keeping to "congre- 
gational" settings, will not Dr. Stainer be good enough to 
put on the u strait-jacket " (he need not divest himself of 
his artistic raiment) and give us a melodious, easy, taking- 
setting of the Te Deum, which shall hold the field against 


all comers, and in due time thoroughly purge us of our 
too familiar friend, Jackson in F. We sadly want a good 
setting of the Te Deum that shall become thoroughly 
popular, and Dr. Stainer is the man who can supply the 

The oft-repeated objection that a new Te Deum is 
unknown to the congregation and therefore ought not to 
be introduced, is not a very rational one. The same thing 
was doubtless said between the years 1820-30 in regard 
to a certain Te Deum composed by one Jackson, and yet 
it ha* outlived all objections of this kind. If a congre- 
gation will not take any trouble to learn a new Te Deum 
it will naturally be some time before they become familiar 
with it. For the purpose of interesting and acquainting 
the congregation with it a notification might be made 
that a "new Te Deum by so-and-so will shortly be 
introduced," and that " copies of the music may be 
obtained, price — (a few pence), in the hope that the 
congregation will purchase it and make themselves 
familiar with it in their homes ; " a supply of copies 
having previously been ordered. 

Chant-services are for the most part feeble, and they 
will not bear any comparison with an ordinary setting. 
There are scarcely any two alike in the pointing, and 
their use is very likely to upset the pointing prescribed 
in the Psalter when the Te Deum, &c, are sung to 
ordinary chants. Dr. Stainer says, " It must be admitted 
also that the weakest chant-service is an improvement on 
the system of singing the canticles to single or double 
chants." It may seem very presumptuous on my part 
to differ from such an acknowledged and respected 
authority, but for the reason stated above, and judging 
from most of the popular settings (i.e., those that 
have the largest sale) which Messrs. Novello publish, 
I think an arrangement of two or three well-known 
chants is decidedly preferable for congregational purposes. 


Dr. Stainer's clever arrangements of the Canticles 
to the Gregorian tones, to those who like these ecclesi- 
astical melodies, are excellent. Directions for singing 
the Te Deuni to chants are given on p. 104, et seq. 

The following are some of the best known chant- 
services (Te Deum) : Boyton Smith in E flat, Barnby 
in B flat, Goss in C, Best in G. 

Entirely unison services become monotonous to alto, 
tenor, and bass singers, so they should only be used 
occasionally. This objection does not apply to unison 
services that have some portions in harmony. 
Bunnett's melodious Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in 
E are good specimens of this kind of service. 

The Benedictus, Jubilate, Magnificat and Nunc 
Dimittis are not so often sung as the Te Deum. There 
is a scarcity of simple, yet interesting settings. Those 
of the Ebdon in C and King in F type have become 
antiquated and are giving place to a more modern 
and sympathetic style of music. Bunnett in E (including 
Cantate and Deus) referred to above, and the same 
composer's setting of the Benedictus and Jubilate in E, 
and Magnificat and [Nunc Dimittis in A, are excellent 
for congregational use.* 


The question "Do you use Choral Responses or 
Suffrages?" was answered thus : — " Yes," 18; " No," 
204. The former are qualified with " Responses to 
Commandments only," 11; "at evening service," 1; 
" sometimes," 3. 

Responses in Nonconformist churches are, for the most 
part, limited to those to the commandments and 

* For much valuable information about church composers, and " service " 
music, see Mr. W. A. Barrett's interesting little book, " English Church 
Composers" (Sampson Low & Co.). 



a very occasional use of Tallis's responses. It would 
be a pleasing variety in the service if the commandments 
were more frequently read as one of the lessons, and each 
commandment followed by the usual response — " Lord 
have mercy upon us," &c. — sung by the people sitting,, 
There are many beautiful, yet simple settings of the 
responses to the commandments (Kyries). A good 
selection, in cheap form and separate numbers, is 
published by Novello & Co. 

Tallis's responses are printed in Dr. Allon's "Congre- 
gational Psalmist Anthem-Book " and in Rev. Rigby 
Hurray's "Revised Psalter," and they can be purchased 
separately for — I think — one penny. Their occasional 
use, likewise the responses to the commandments, would 
help to procure that variety which is wanting in 
Non conformist services. 

The Beatitudes (St. Matthew v. 3-10) furnish an 
excellent opportunity for introducing a Choral Response. 
The minister might read the first part of each Beatitude, 
and the choir and congregation respond, to the following 

Minister {reading). — " Blessed are the poor in spirit; " 
Choir and Congregation {singing). — 


for theirs is the kingdom of heaven 

and so on through each Beatitude, the last being followed 
by Amen sung to the plagal cadence. 







The question " Are organ recitals or concerts ever given 
in the church ? If so, is the music sacred only, or is 
secular music of a good class admitted?" was answered 
as follows. "No," 82; "Yes," 142. Of the latter 
26 qualify " Sacred and Secular; " 111 " Sacred only ; " 
5 give no definite reply. Several add, "Concerts, &c, 
are only given occasionally." 

Subjoined are a few of the replies. 

11 Yes. The ' Messiah,' ' Dettingen Te Deum,' ' Creation,' 
have been given on Sunday afternoons. Lancashire people 
are musical and critical, and upon these occasions a large 
audience (perhaps 2,000) is assembled." 

" Yes, only sacred. But with organ music it is confessedly 
difficult to draw the line between sacred and secular as 
regards Fugues, Toccatas, &c." 

"We have just spent £1,200 on a new organ, and we 
intend to introduce mid-week choral services." 

"We have had illustrated musical lectures on 'Handel,' 
and other composers, when portions of their works have 
been given." 

"I have given organ recitals once or twice a year 
interspersed with sacred vocal solos." 


' ' An organ recital on the last Sunday evening in the 
month after service." 

"The choir give a few 'musical evenings' during the 
winter— in the church for sacred music, in the lecture hall 
for secular." 

The question " Is admission free at these recitals or 
concerts?" was answered as follows. " Sometimes free, 
sometimes by payment," 19; "Free," 29; "Free, but with 
collection," 51 ; " Payment only," 40. 

Here follow some of the replies. 

" In order that the poorest may hear, we make no charge, 
but an optional collection is taken at the door." 

"A ' collection in silver ' is expected from everyone on 
entering the church. It is much easier to get it filled in this 

" No. Admission, sixpence." 

' ' Admission by ticket at a nominal charge so as to exclude 
no one of the congregation." 

" For a concert in aid of the 'unemployed' we charged 3s., 
2s., and Is., but no seats were reserved, and no difference, in 
fact, made respecting them." 

" A uniform charge of Is.''' 

"Sometimes free, sometimes by ticket (bought). The 
object determines this." 

"Sometimes by payment, sometimes free. The latter 
plan brings a larger audience, but the former pays best." 

' ' Voluntary collection ' in silver. ' " [The important addition 
* in silver ' is of Scottish origin.] 

Organ recitals, sacred concerts, &c, have become a 
prominent feature in the musical life of the churches, 
especially, as is frequently the case, when money is 
required to be raised. In arranging details of these 
musical feasts much, of course, depends upon local 
circumstances and available material, but a few general 
hints may be of service. 

The organ recital is increasing in popularity, though 
it often develops into a sacred concert, the organ taking 
the largest share. It is well that it should be so, 
because a number of organ solos alone, unrelieved by 
vocal music, is apt to become monotonous. Considering 


the sacred associations of the church, it may be thought 
well for the recital to be opened with a short prayer 
or collect, led by the minister or some office-bearer, 
and closed with a familiar hymn in which all could join. 
Programmes, with all the ivords sung, should be supplied, 
even though it may be found necessary to make a small 
<:harge for them. An audience will be put into a more 
sympathetic mood for listening to vocal music if they 
are provided with the words. Dates of the composers 
drawn upon, or a brief analysis of the pieces played, 
always proves interesting, and is valuable from an 
educational point of view. The programme should not 
exceed two hours (one hour and thirty minutes is 
preferable), as it is better for the audience to go away 
refreshed with what they have heard, rather than tired 
out. A point to be gained is, that the interest shall 
be so sustained that all, or nearly all, will remain to 
the end. 

In the winter time the church should be warmed 
to a temperature of not less than 60°. It is unreasonable 
to expect an audience to enjoy music while suffering 
from the miseries of cold feet ; besides, a cold atmosphere 
is fatal to any good vocal performances. 

When a special organist is engaged to give the recital, 
the choral accompaniments should be played by the 
regular organist, unless an opportunity is afforded for a 
rehearsal with the solo organist and choir beforehand ; 
and this arrangement provides the solo organist with 
a needed rest in the course of the evening. 

In drawing up a programme, attention should be paid 
to diversity of style in the organ pieces, to the accuracy 
of the composer's name, and the exactness of the 
Beveral titles. I have seen a recent programme (in 
London, sad to say) which contained the information that 
"If with all your hearts" was composed by that 
prophet of old — Elijah, instead of by Mendelssohn. 


It is also important to arrange the numbers in such 
a Tray as to make as much variety as possible — instru- 
mental alternating with vocal, &c. A vocal solo should 
not commence or finish the programme. When there 
are lady and gentlemen vocalists, the ladies, of course, 
should have the best positions in the programme. If a 
vocalist sings twice, and his first solo be placed near 
the beginning of the recital, the second should not be the 
last item, or too near the end, but should be in a 
better place. Very few vocalists like to sing first, so 
a little tact and management are required in order to 
smooth this as well as other difficulties. To draw up 
a programme successfully is not so easy a matter as 
many might suppose. Some of these details may appear 
too minute and superfluous, but experience has proved 
to me that they are sometimes overlooked. 

I append a specimen programme of an organ recital 
which occupied about one hour and forty-five minutes. 
(Dates of living composers are omitted). 


The audience are invited to join in singing the hymns, and in 
responding to the prayers. 


Tune— Old 100th ... Attributed to Claude Goudimel, d. 1572 
" All people that on earth do dwell." 

[Words printed in full; four verses, 2nd and 4th marked unison, 
with free organ accompaniment.] 

The General Thanksgiving. 

The Lord's Prayer. 

Organ Concerto in B flat, No. 2 G.F. Handel, 1685-1759 

Andante. Allegro. Adagio. Allegro. 

Anthem (unaccompanied) — " Lord, for Thy tender mercies' sake." 
[Words follow in all cases.] [Farrant, d. 1580 

Organ — Allegretto in 13 minor Alex. Guihnant. 

Prayer "To Thee, great Lord " [Moses in Egypt) Rossini, 17i)2l8G8 
(with harp accompaniment.) 

Organ — Andante in D E. Silas 


Prelude in B flat Mendelssohn, 1809-1847 

Arranged for harp, violin, and organ, by John Thomas. 

Anthem — (unaccompanied) — " Send out Thy light " C. Gounod 

Organ — Toccata and Fugue in C major J. S. Bach 

Johann Sebastian Bach, "to whom," in Schumann's words, "music 
owes almost as great a debt as religion owes to its founder," was 
born at Eisenach, March 2 1st, 1685 (the same year as Handel), and 
died at Leipzig, on July 28th, 1750. The introductory Toccata 
(from tocarre, to touch, to play), with its elaborated pedal solo, and 
the melodious Andante, with clarionet solo, prepare the listener 
for the climax, where Bach, as usual, asserts his pre-eminence in a 
Fugue (from the Latin fugare, to put to flight), constructed on a 
striking series of notes, and wrought out with the facility only 
granted to a great master. [Specimen of short analysis.] 

Meditation, or Ave Maria, for voice, violin, harp, and organ, 
founded on the 1st prelude of J. S. Bach. C. Gounod 

Soprano solo, Miss . 

Organ — Andante con variazioni, in A Br. W Rea 

Anthem " Blessed are the merciful " ... Br. H. Biles 

Largo Handel 

Arranged for violin, harp, and organ by Hellmesberger. 

Organ — War March of the Priests (Athalie) Mendelssohn, 1809-1847 
An Evening Hymn. 

Tune — "Abends" Sir H. Oakeley 

" Sun of my soul, Thou Saviour dear," &c. ... J. Keble 
[Four verses, with expression marks, p, f, &c, in the margin.] 

The Benediction. 

[The following may be inserted on the first page of programme.] 

N.B. — It is particularly requested that there be no applause ; also, 

that persons who are unable to remain to the close of the recital, 

will be kind enough to retire beticeen the pieces, so that those who 

wish to hear the whole may not be disturbed. 

From the above it will be seen that two orchestral 
instruments, the harp and the violin, were introduced, 
and with excellent effect. The arpeggios of the harp 
against the sustained chords of the organ, with the 
violin soaring above both, was much enjoyed, and the 
combination was exceedingly good. It is necessary to 
point out the desirability of securing good orchestral 
players who will play in tunc, or the result will be 
torture to sensitive ears. 


As to whether admission shall be by payment or 
a collection be taken, much depends on local circum- 
stances. When money is an object it is, perhaps* 
advisable to make sure of the coin beforehand, as 
collections are often precarious. If, however, the recital 
is given in connection with any part of church work 
(not an outside affair), and it is considered necessary 
to make different charges of admission, I think there 
should be no division of seats, reserved or unreserved- 
There ought to be no distinction between rich and poor 
in purely church matters, whether it be a service or 
a concert. Those who can afford two shillings ought 
to pay two shillings, but all — rich and poor — should 
be allowed to sit just where they like. It is a far better 
policy to have the place full at " sixpence " than to 
have a beggarly array of empty " reserved." seats at 
" two shillings." Rather than have distinctions of seats, 
by all means announce " admission free," and let a 
collection be made, so that both rich and poor may give 
according to their respective means. 

A word of caution must be given about "payment at 
the doors." If money is actually taken at the entrance 
of the church, lecture hall, or schoolroom, the building 
is liable to be rated parochially. The authorities are 
generally very lenient in not noticing these cases, but 
knowing the risk, it is better to be on the safe side. The 
purchase of a ticket beforehand is, I believe, perfectly 
legal, so long as money is not tendered at the door. 

The questions of applause, and sacred music only 
(to the exclusion of all secular music), when the recital 
is given in the church, are capable of different answers 
by different people. Applause, or audible appreciation, 
is very pleasing to a performer, but it seems to me 
to be quite out of keeping with a building dedicated 
to sacred uses ; and it is specially distressing — in fact, 
almost revolting — after a solo sucli as, "There is a green 


hill far away." Thoughtful consideration will show 
that clapping of hands and stamping of feet should 
be reserved for buildings less associated with hallowed 
influences. It is very possible that many will disagree 
with me in this opinion, but I have long since arrived 
at the conclusion that it is a right one. I believe the 
time is not far distant when audiences will show their 
appreciation of sacred music when sung with sacred 
surroundings, in golden silence, instead of in a mild 
form of rowdyism. If it is decided that there be no 
applause, the prohibition should be printed on the 
programme, in order to avoid any misunderstanding. 

Encores, involving repetitions, should not be tolerated 
for one moment whether in church or concert room. 
The encore system is a most pernicious one ; it is opposed 
to all artistic canons, and it should be stamped out by 
all true lovers of music. Nothing can be said against 
the recall of a performer (when applause is allowed), 
but it should stop here, and no repetition should, on 
any account, be permitted. If necessary, a notification 
to this effect should be printed on the programme, and 
the performers' attention be specially called to it. 

If the recital or concert be held in the church, 
shall the music be entirely sacred, or a mixture of 
sacred and secular? This question suggests another, 
What is secular music ? The answer is, Music which 
has other than sacred associations. For instance, vocal 
music with secular words, or instrumental music associated 
with operas or other stage performances, are anything 
but sacred, though they may be perfectly unobjectionable 
in their proper places. Some portions of Sullivan's comic 
operas would serve as very good organ voluntaries, 
but to those who know the extracts with their original 
surroundings, their introduction into Divine service would 
be bordering upon profanity. 


All instrumental music, pure and simple (with the ex- 
ceptions noted above), may be classed as sacred, though 
some quick movements had better not be played for fear 
of suggesting other than sacred associations. In instru- 
mental music good taste should distinguish between what 
should and what should not be introduced. It is very 
difficult to draw the line, but if there is any doubt 
as to the suitability of a piece to harmonise with 
sacred surroundings, it had better be omitted ; likewise 
should all secular vocal music, even though it be of 
a high class. To sing love ditties and sentimental 
part-songs in God's house seems to me to show very bad 
taste, to say the least of it ; others, however, may think 

Sacred concerts are so much akin to organ recitals 
that the above suggestions will hold good in regard to 
them. Concerts in the lecture hall or schoolroom 
are usually of a more general kind and do not come 
within the scope of this book. 

Sacred Music for the People. 

Considering that almost every church has an organ, 
an organist, and a musical staff of some sort or another, 
and that it is frequently closed from Sunday to Sunday, 
the question naturally suggests itself, cannot the 
musical staff and the building be utilised for giving 
selections of sacred music on week evenings (periodically) 
during the winter months ? In largely populated 
districts it seems almost a shame that the majority of 
Nonconformist churches — and, indeed, Established 
churches as well — should only be used for the Sunday 
services, and be shut up for 164 out of 168 hours in 
each week. Why not extend their usefulness by 
throwing open their doors and inviting people in 
to hear a little music, and thus provide an opportunity 
whereby they may rest awhile from the busy haunts 


of life, amidst pleasant and comfortable surroundings, 
while they listen to the purifying strains of sacred 
music. There is abundant need for anything that will 
counteract the evils that abound in populous districts, 
and this use of the churches opens up a wide field of 
usefulness and a splendid channel for doing good. The 
question of expense — gas, warming, and printing — 
would be comparatively trifling, and there are always 
some public spirited people who would gladly contribute 
to such a worthy undertaking. There are also plenty 
of people ever willing to help, either as vocalists or 
stewards, when there is a prospect of doing good, if 
you can only get at them. Such a scheme would be 
a means too of rousing up the church choir, and giving 
them something to do beyond their Sunday duties. 
Many church choirs are simply rusting and losing their 
vitality because they have not half enough to do. 

Supposing such a plan as here suggested is considered 
a feasible one, who ought to take the initiative ? The 
church authorities, undoubtedly. It should become as 
much a church aifair as a Missionary or Sunday School 
meeting, and should be officially recognised as part 
of the church work. There should be a small working (not 
standing) committee consisting of minister, organist, or 
choirmaster, one or two office-bearers, and one or two 
from the congregation, all of whom would be willing to go 
heart and soul into the matter in order to make it a 
thorough success. 

The " Musical Evenings " should be made widely known, 
admission entirely free, and the collection, if possible, dis- 
pensed with. A staff of stewards should be organized, 
whose duty it would be to conduct people into seats and to 
see that each person is provided with a programme. It is 
not necessary to have a spoken sermon or address, as the 
pieces sung should provide several sermons in song. 
Such a plan as here proposed would undoubtedly help 


to remove the prejudice which so many — especially among 
the poorer classes — have against " going to church." 
If they can be enticed into the church on a week-day, 
there is some probability that they may find their 
way thither on Sunday. Some London churches have 
periodical " musical evenings" in the lecture hall. 
This is all very well when the hall is a large one, but 
there are sufficient people to more than fill the churches 
if they can only be induced to come in. 

A movement in this direction has recently been 
initiated by Dr. Montague Butler, Dean of Gloucester,* 
which is deserving of emulation in cathedrals and 
churches of all denominations where there is a population 
large enough to warrant the attempt. Dean Butler 
w rites to the Editor of the Gloucester Journal under date 
September 23rd, 1886, as follows :— 

' ' May I be permitted to invite attention through your 
columns to an arrangement which may, we trust, be 
acceptable to all classes of our fellow-citizens, and not least 
to the poorest and those who have least leisure ? During the 
next six months a performance of sacred music . . will 
be given in the nave of the Cathedral on the evenings of 
the second and fourth Thursdays of each month. The 
music will consist partly of singing and partly of playing 
on the organ. Our object is not so much to advance the 
cultivation of this great and noble art — for which important 
and other means are elsewhere provided — as to bring under 
the notice of those who are least instructed in music the 
-implest, most pathetic, and most majestic passages from 
oratorios, anthems, chorales, and hymns. It is believed that 
such passages, as they become familiar, will prove to many 
hundreds of our citizens a delight at all times, a comfort 
in sorrow, and a real help to religious devotion. Offers of 
■assistance from competent singers will be gladly welcomed. 
. . . In all cases the assistance will be given gratuitously. 
Those who offer it will, it is hoped, recognise and value the 
Christian privilege of enabling others to share those treasures 

* Dr. Butler lias since been appointed Master of Trinity College, 
Cambridge, but 1 believe the scheme he so happily inaugurated at 
Gloucester is .-till being carried on. 


of refined enjoyment and spiritual refreshment which have 
become precious to themselves. The success of our plan 
will depend largely on ministers of religion, employers of 
labour, and masters and mistresses of families. It is in 
their power to notify and recommend to those whom we 
chiefly have in view the opportunity which is now offered 
to them. I venture respectfully to ask for their kind 
sympathy and co-operation in what they feel, I think, 
to be a Christian work. . . . The performance will 
begin punctually at eight p.m., and last for about an hour. 
Printed copies of the words sung will be found in the seats. 
Admission will, of course, be free." 

This letter is couched in language that speaks for 
itself. Comment is needless, as everyone will sympathise 
with the Dean in his proposal, and will not fail to recognise 
his wisdom and the excellence of the example he lias 
so worthily set. With due reverence, one might say 
to all ministers of religion — deans, rectors, pastors, 
whatever their designation — who have the opportunity — 
" Go, and do thou likewise." 

The Gloucester scheme has worked admirably so far, 
as the following (condensed) report from a local newspaper 
in reference to the first musical evening will show: — 

' ' The nave of the Cathedral was crowded ; three thousand 
persons were present, and hundreds had to be turned away. 
The proceedings were opened with a short collect and the 
Lord's Prayer. The organ pieces (played by Mr. C. L. 
Williams, the Cathedral organist), included selections from 
Haydn's " Creation,' Beethoven's ' Funeral March,' Handel's 
'Pastoral Symphony' {Messiah), and a selection from 
Mendelssohn's ' Hymn of Praise.' The vocal music was 
Mendelssohn's ' O rest in the Lord,' Handel's ' I know 
that my Redeemer liveth ' (solos) ; and Malan's ' Lord 
my God,' and Handel's ' Since by man came death.' 
Simple, easily understood music, well executed, was the 
distinguishing feature. At the close the Evening Hymn 
was sung kneeling, each alternate verse being sung by a 
quartet, who were placed in the organ loft ; immediately 
after it a prayer and the Benediction concluded the first 
experiment of bringing music to the people in the shape 
of absolutely free concerts in the Cathedral — an experiment 
crowned with abundant success. A body of honorary 


stewards assisted in the work of seating the great congre- 
gation. The admonition— printed on the programme— that 
those who attended the recitals should observe the reverence 
due to the house of God, proved totally superfluous, as the 
vast audience could give many points to a ' fashionable 
congregation ' in the matter of reverence and decorum. 
The recital occupied exactly an hour." 

To conclude this part of the subject, I have emphasised 
the limitation sacred in connection with these suggested 
"Musical Evenings," because the words sung at them 
should be — as Dr. Butler puts it — "a delight at all 
times, a comfort in sorrow, and a real help to religious 
devotion." If secular words are once introduced there is 
no knowing to what extent they may run. The senseless 
twaddle of most of the songs of the present day are 
the reverse of edifying ; they suggest such a sickly 
sentimentality, both as regards words and music, as 
almost to make all sensible people loathe them. Therefore, 
when a "Musical Evening" is given in the church, 
it is the best safeguard to strongly enforce the limitation 
— sacred music only. 

Special Musical Services. 

The question " Have you had any specially musical 
services, at ivhich singing, reading, and preaching are 
intermingled as parts of a whole ? was answered thus : — 
"Yes," 102; "No," 122. Many of the former are 
qualified with " Services of Song for Sunday School 
children," "Harvest Festivals," "Christmas Day," &c. 
In the majority of instances these "special services" 
are spoken of as being very satisfactory and highly 
successful ; and in no single case is testimony given in 
the opposite direction. Some of the replies may be 

" The entire service has been altered on several occasions. 
The service opens with a hymn for the congregation, 
followed by prayer and short address by the pastor, and the 
remainder of the time is occupied with music, such as 
Mendelssohn's Psalms, for which we enlarge the choir." 


" These are getting more common in Glasgow on Sunday 

"Yes. Bepresentations of the old-fashioned Methodist 
Psalmody of 30 to 50 years ago." 

1 % We have during winter season ' Song Services ' for the 
people at which there are singing, reading, and preaching." 
[Large London Church.] 

" A ' Service of Praise ' has been frequently held, when a 
certain theme was taken, and the various points remarked 
upon are connected by a hymn in illustration." 

" Frequently ; and they are very successful." 

"Yes. We gave Mendelssohn's ' Come let us sing,' and 
Schubert's 'Song of Miriam.' The choruses, &c, coming in 
at various places during the sermon." 

' ' We sometimes give a ' Service of Praise ' in connection 
with our mission district. These are usually given on 
Saturday evenings." 

"Several 'Services of Praise' on Sunday evenings, and 
these have been much appreciated. On these occasions the 
congregation do not take part in all the items. The choir 
sing several anthems and sacred part-songs, and individual 
members sing solos from the oratorios, &c, and the congre- 
gation remain seated." 

' ' We have a special Evangelistic service on the second 
Sunday in the month when Sankey's ' Hymns and Solos ' are 
sung by the choir, and the choruses are taken up by the 

' ' No ; but in my opinion this style of service ought 
to be more generally adopted. It allows the service to flow 
continuously without awkward breaks caused by announcing 
the hymns, &c, and you can rouse the enthusiasm and 
feelings of the people by its means much more readily." 

I append a list of " Services of Song " and other works 
sung at the services, not concerts, referred to in the 
replies — omitting those quoted above. "Jessica's First 
Prayer," "Christ and His Soldiers" (Parmer), "Ruth" 
(Gaul), "Eva," "Our Father's care," "Luther," "Coming 
of Immanuel," "Under the Palms" (Root), "The 
Desire of all nations " (Longbottom), " Pilgrim's Pro- 
gress," "Daniel" (Root and Bradbury), "Redemption" 
(Gounod), "Woman of Samaria" (Sterndale Bennett), 
"Elijah" (Mendelssohn), "Messiah" (Handel). 


Special musical services differ from organ recitals and 
concerts in that they are of a more devotional character, 
and must of necessity be conducted by the minister ; 
and his co-operation, sympathy, and interest in them 
is absolutely necessary to ensure their success. I have 
known an occasion when, to judge from his address, the 
minister's sympathy was conspicuous by its absence, 
for he (figuratively) poured abundance of cold water 
on the musical part of it. Therefore, unless the minister 
enters heart and soul into them these musical services 
had better not be held, or they may prove a failure. 

The most usual occasions for their introduction are 
Sunday School Anniversaries, Christmas Services, and 
Harvest Festivals. It is hardly necessary to refer to the 
former, as the music generally consists of children's hymns 
or one of the many " Services of Song," with music 
suitable and easy for the young folks to sing, that are 
now to be had. 

The Harvest Festival, or Harvest Thanksgiving Service, 
provides a good opportunity for a hearty demonstration 
of praise. Its popularity in Nonconformist churches is 
rapidly increasing, and if the music is good it rarely fails 
to attract a large congregation. It is well to hold it on a 
week evening, and to repeat it on the Sunday evening 
following. The praise service should consist of appropriate 
thanksgiving music. Psalms 65, 104, and 145 are suitable 
for chanting. For anthems, the following are suggested 
as being easy and within the capabilities of ordinary 
choirs : — Barnby's " Lord, how manifold," Stainer's 
" Ye shall dwell in the land," Goss's " I will magnify 
Thee," Sydenham's "0 give thanks," Garrett's "The 
Lord is loving," Farebrother's " give thanks " (all 
published by Novello) ; A. E. Fisher's " give thanks " 
(published by J. Curwcn and Sons). There should be two or 
three hymns in which all the congregation can join. It is 
desirable to have the ' order of service/ with allj|the 


words, printed and distributed throughout the church. 
The whole service should be bright and redolent with 
thanksgiving and praise. 

Christmastide also affords an appropriate season for a 
special musical service. By conferring together, minister 
and organist can arrange one of their own, but I append 
two draft programmes (music only), as a guide. 


1. Hymn ... " As with gladness men of old " 

2. Chorus ... " And the glory of the Lord " (Messiah) Handel 

3. Carol " The first Nowell " 

5. Solo (bass, with chorus of male voices) 

"Nazareth" ... ... ... Gounod 

■5. Hymn ... " Oh, come, all ye faithful " ... 

(Tune " Adeste Fideles " second verse choir alone) 

6. Carol ... " See amid the winter's snow "... ... Goss 

7. Anthem "Let us now go even unto Bethlehem " E. J. Hopkins 

8. Hymn ... " Once, in royal David's city "... 

9. Anthem... ... " Arise, shine "... ... ... Elvey 

or " Behold I bring you good tidings " ... Goss 
10. Hymn ... " Hark ! the herald angels sing " 


1. Hymn " Hark, the glad sound ! the Saviour comes " 

2. Anthem (sopranos and alto.-) 

" There were shepherds " ... M. B. Foster 
o. Carol ... " When Clirist was born " ... A. II. Brown 

4. Hymn " It came upon the midnight clear " 

(two verses by choir alone.) 

5. Anthem " O Zion that bringest good tidings " ... Stainer 

6. Carol ..." Good Christian men, rejoice " ... 

7. Anthem... ... "Bethlehem" ... ... ... Gounod 

or, " There were shepherds," and the following recitatives and 
chorus, " Glory to God," from Handel's Mesdah. 

S. Hymn " Brightest and best of the sons of the morning " 

(to E. J. Hopkins's tune " Epiphany.") 
i). Anthem... ... " Adeste Fideles " 

( Vincent Novello's arrangement ) 

10. Chorus ... " Hallelujah (Messiah) " ... ... Handel 

11. Hymn ... " Hark ! the herald angels sing " 

Besides the Nativity, other scriptural subjects may be 
treated as " Services of Song." There are so many services 
of this kind now issued in book form by the various pub- 
lishers that it would occupy too much space to mention the 
good ones, to say nothing of those that are bad. The chief 



fault in most of them is that the musical part is of too 
easy and (if I may use the word) too sugary a character to 
suit the appetite of a fairly competent choir, in addition 
to its being somewhat monotonous and mawkish. However, 
it is not always necessary to seek the aid of one of these 
books, though they save a great deal of trouble, as the 
whole service (music and readings) is contained in one 
cover. "Ministers and organists can mutually arrange a 
service on some particular line of scriptural thought, and 
select their own music. 

Two novel " Services of Song," on a most interesting 
subject, are, " The House of God," consisting of old 
Methodist hymns set to old Methodist tunes, with 
accompanying lecture, arranged by the Rev. Allen Rees 
(Wesleyan Sunday School Union); and " Hymns and 
Tunes of Long Ago," with biographical sketches of 
hymn writers, by W. J. Harvey (J. Curwen & Sons).' 
The biographical or lecture part of either of these 
services could be read by the organist or some lay helper 
(supposing the minister is not available) ; the musical 
portion would prove most enjoyable to the " old people," 
in awakening sweet memories of the "days that are no more " 
and the juveniles of the audience would be interested in, 
and possibly a little amused at, the "twists, turns, and 
repeats" of "long ago." The first of these services 
has the following significant notices on the title-page : 
" N.B. — The old harmonies have been preserved as far as 
it was possible to do so. No organ. Three Violins {two 
First and one Second), Violoncello, Double Bass, two 
Clarionets, and a Bassoon. 11 What an attraction such a 
feast would provide ! 

A " Service of Song" might well be given periodically 
at a Sunday evening service. This plan was in operation 
at Old Surrey Chapel some years ago, and proved very 
successful, and it is still continued in Christ Church 
(perpetuation of Surrey Chapel) during the winter 


months. On the second Sunday evening in the month 
the ordinary service was shortened, and at its close the 
Rev. Kewman Hall intimated that " those who would 
like to remain to hear some music were cordially invited 
to do so, while those who wished to retire could leave 
during the voluntary." It was seldom that more than 
a very few persons out of a large congregation (say 
1,500 people) made their exit ; even those who might not 
be considered to have much sympathy with music 
remained. The extra service occupied from 30 to 40 
minutes, and consisted of hymns, anthems, and vocal 
solos. The minister preceded each piece with short 
comments explanatory of, or in harmony with it, and 
an occasional prayer (short) was introduced, especially 
after a penitential or supplicatory anthem ; sometimes 
a short scripture lesson was read. A good effect was 
produced by the congregation joining in the refrain 
of a well-known hymn, e.g , " Let us with a gladsome 
mind," while the 1st and 2nd lines were sung by the 
choir alone. These were felt to be delightful evenings ; 
and they afforded a pleasant and profitable half -hour to those 
living in lonely lodgings or in houses of business, who 
perhaps had little or no opportunity for the enjoyment 
of sacred music. One thing is very important in 
arranging these services. On no account neglect the 
people, let them have some share in the music. There 
should be at least one popular hymn and tune — e.g., 
" All hail the power of Jesu's Kame " — in which all 
can heartily join. A musical minister of my acquaintance 
was recently telling me of a great mistake he made in 
connection with a special musical service he held in 
his church one Sunday evening. All the music was 
to a great extent unfamiliar to the congregation (which 
included many strangers) that crowded the church. 
He said to me, " I missed a grand point, I omitted 
to have a well-known tune in which all could let out 


their voices." Such an experience is of immense value, 
and should be duly noted. 

Orchestral Accompaniments. 

The question u Have you had orchestral accompaniments 
at any of your services or concerts in the church?" was 
replied to as follows: " Yes," 41, " No." 185. Several 
of the former add " Concerts only." 

Some of the replies are subjoined : — 

" Not at services. I have given Eossini's ' Stabat Mater' 
with band and chorus of 85 performers in the church. The 
performance evoked much criticism in the local papers ; we 
were charged with going over to ' Rome.' " 

" No ; this would shock the feelings of our ' brethren.' " 

"Yes; as an experiment we have had some half-dozen 
violins at our evening services, and the idea has met with 
such success that no doubt it will be continued." 

1 ' Never but once ; and that was a double bass played 
inside the organ owing to the temporary indisposition of the 
pedal organ. Good effect too !" 

" At the performance of a cantata we had piano, six violins, 
flute, cornet, 'cello, and double bass. Very successful." 

' ' At the Sunday School Anniversary our own string band 
accompanied the singing for the first time, and it proved 

" Volunteer brass band at annual Volunteer service." 

" Cornet occasionally." [Trumpet is also mentioned.] 

" At two special services we dispensed with the organ and 
had a small band to imitate the style of 40 years ago, with 
the same peculiar old tunes." 

"Yes; sometimes strings and such wind instruments as 
can be played with a low-pitch organ. I specially recom- 
mend the combination of strings, trumpets, and drums with 
the organ and grand piano, if pitch admits." 

" I should like to see a string quartet in everj^ church." 

It is not necessary to be the possessor of grey hairs in 
order to remember the time when violin, clarionet, flute, and 
" bass viol " were used to lead the praise service. Twenty 
years ago it was quite a common thing in country villages 
to find a small yet goodly company of instrumentalists, 
who would fiddle (or scrape), or " blow high, blow low " 


most enthusiastically. There is an old yet authentic story of 
a certain 'cello player, who, when coming to the accompani- 
ment to the words " Who is the King of Glory ?" said to 
his neighbour, " Throw us th' rosin, Tom, an' I'll show 
'em who th' King o' Glory is." In the present day our 
aDstheticisin in worship music, even in villages, prefers 
the accompaniment of a harsh harmonium — often very 
badly played — to the worthy efforts of the " players on 
instruments " of a generation ago. Sic transit gloria 

Although orchestral instruments have given place to the 
organ or harmonium in leading the praise service, they 
are still in request for special occasions. "When a 
cantata or selections from the oratorios are given in the 
church, it is a great advantage to have orchestral accom- 
paniment. However much the organ may be used as a 
substitute for the orchestra, it can never produce the effect 
realised by stringed instruments. Supposing, however, 
it is not possible to obtain a complete orchestra, any 
available help in the string department should be cordially 
welcomed, provided always that the players are fairly 
competent and that they can play in tune. In such 
instances, the organist can play the wood-wind parts on 
the organ, as the combination of string and organ tone is 
very effective. It is important that, as far as possible, 
the strings should be properly balanced. There should be 
about an equal number of 1st and 2nd violins, and a due 
proportion of violas, violoncellos, and double basses. Most 
amateur violinists have a decided preference for " first 
fiddle," so this little weakness should, if possible, be over- 
come. The viola (or tenor) and double bass are less played 
in amateur circles than the other instruments of their 
class, so it is sometimes necessary to engage professional 
players in order to secure a balance of parts. 

I have had some sad experiences in playing the organ in 
oratorios with amateur orchestral players, so that I think it 


important to issue a word of caution in regard to enlisting 
their services, especially "when they form a " scratch" 
orchestra. First, there should be a leader for each part, upon 
whom the conductor can place perfect reliance. Second, 
only the best players should be allowed to accompany the vocal 
solos. Third, plenty of rehearsals are necessary, both for 
chorus and orchestra together, and band alone. Fourth, 
the abominable habit of amateur fiddlers " tuning up," or 
feeling if their " Strads " are in tune, at every conceivable 
pause should be put a stop to. Give them convenient 
opportunities for tuning, and let these suffice. The tone, 
precision, and tune of eight good players are worth the 
the feeble, meandering discordances of twenty duffers. 
The distressing agony which some amateur scrapers of the 
violin cause is something dreadful to think of, and unless the 
conductor is sure of getting fairly competent players, the 
best advice I can give him as to the employment of an 
amateur orchestra is, " don't." 

Strings, trumpet (or cornet), and organ make a very 
good combination. Handel's organ concertos are complete 
with strings, oboes, and the solo instrument, and in this, 
their original form, they should be more frequently 

When it is proposed to use wind instruments with the 
organ, care must be taken in regard to similarity of 
pitch, as wind instruments are now constructed to 
what is called " Philharmonic " pitch, which is half-a-tone 
or more higher than the ordinary church organ. 

It is not often that one hears of an orchestral society 
being officially recognised as a church institution, but 
such is the case at Highbury Presbyterian Church. The 
Amateur Orchestral Society there numbers about 45 
members, including eight or ten ladies, who meet for 
practice once a week. There is also a Psalmody Associa- 
tion connected with the church which meets for practice 


on a separate evening, but the combined forces meet 
together for rehearsals preparatory to a public per- 
formance. Their concert performances are exceedingly 
creditable, and such vigorous orchestral and choral organiza- 
tions are worthy of all emulation by other churches. 
These societies mark a new departure in the Presbyterian 
church, and go a long way towards removing the 
stigma which has so long rested on the musical capa- 
cities of that venerable (though, in the past, 
somewhat anti-musical) church. The senior elder 
at Highbury is Yice-president of the society and one 
of the leading basses, and one of the minister's daughters 
plays the violin in the band. shades of John Calvin 
and John Knox ! 

Associations of Cnonis. 

The questions "Have you ever combined with other 
church choirs in your neighbourhood, or town, for a Praise 
Demonstration after the manner of the Diocesan Choral 
Festivals in the Established Church? Do you think such 
services would be productive of good in promoting congre- 
gational psalmody, and in awakening interest in it? 11 
were answered as follows. 

First question— " Yes," 36. " No," 175. 

Second question— " No," 31. " Yes," 129. "No 
opinion," 50. 

Some of the replies may be useful. 

"No. I should prefer a periodical lecture upon 
" Psalmody " with illustrations by a carefully trained choir. 
The tunes being selected from those in use, and attention 
being drawn to the sad inattention of the congregation to 
this, their only, part in the service of the sanctuary." 

i " They would doubtless be productive of good if enthu- 
siastically taken up, and if choir leaders were ail sufficiently 
well up in their work ; otherwise, I fear, the scheme would 
not work well. As a rule in Nonconformist churches there 
is not the talent at the head of the musical department 
which you find in the Established Church. If the first 


festival was conducted property under one leader, the next 
might be conducted in precisely an opposite way, and chaos, 
or something like it, would be the result." 

" No, to both questions. We have a Gospel Temperance 
Choir formed from all denominations, and some of the best 
singers in the town are in it. But there is a great want 
of loving sympathy amongst some of the conductors. I, 
for one, don't feel it, as I am on good terms with all, and 
strive for ' unity in the bond of peace,' but I hear of it." 

" I suppose they ought to be, but the conditions differ so 
in different churches regarding books, music, and systems, 
that I am rather sceptical on the point." 

"No, but I think it of very little good except when only 
choirs of the same denomination join." 

" I think it would not serve a much greater purpose than 
socially uniting the churches." [Surely this is worth 
accomplishing. ] 

' ' I think they would do more harm than good to well- 
trained choirs, as delicacy and finish would have to be 
sacrificed to power." [Not necessarily.] 

' ' No. They might be beneficial ; but the different 
collections of psalmody books would be an obstacle." 

" Yes, once. Difficulty in meeting for rehearsals has 
hindered a repetition." 

"Yes. There is a 'Choirs Association' here composed 
of 200 to 300 members of choirs of Congregational, Baptist, 
and a few Wesleyan Churches." 

"On Christmas Day the choirs from all our Congre- 
gational Churches in Halifax meet at a united service in 
one of the churches." 

"Not unless organised on a large scale, and with a 
committee of management. I think there would be too 
much of an exhibition of one conductor's superiority over 
another if such services were held promiscuously ; this 
seems to be a matter for discussion. A form of rules and 
regulations should be made to satisfy all." 

"Yes; but there is always a great amount of jealousy 
connected with them. [This objection is given several 
times.] Some churches will not join. Then again there 
is the question of leadership, which I will not discuss." 

"From what I have seen of services of this kind, I do 
not think that the interest of the congregation is aroused by 
them, but the choirs certainly do take pleasure in them." 

"I believe it would be very useful, and I would gladly join 
any other choir in a Choral Festival." [Several similar 


" Yes ; and I think the Wesleyans should organize Circuit, 
or District Choral Unions." 

" Yes, I think it would do good, but difficult of accom- 
plishment on account of the small amount of interest taken 
in music by either office-bearers or congregation." 

" Yes, we have a musical festival annually. It is termed 
by the Welsh ' Y Gymanfa Gerddoral,' when all the Baptist 
choirs unite together to sing hymns and anthems. It is 
generally held on Wbit-Monday. The choirs rehearse sepa- 
rately, and at certain periods unite together under the 
leadership of the conductor, selected by the association for 
the festival. (2). Yes, very much, as members of our 
congregation either stay to listen to the rehearsals, or unite 
in the singing." 

1 v The Wesleyan Choir Association ' in Manchester 
District have an annual festival. I think the}' are productive 
of much good in congregational Psalmody and general 
interest therein." 

" It is possible such services might be productive of good, as 
they might induce choirs to try to excel their neighbours, 
and so the singing would be improved." 

"Yes, if you carried the people and the ministers along 
with you." 

" The awkwardness would be that each denomination has 
its own tune-book, the harmonies varying, and, indeed, the 
melodies also in some instances." 

" It ought to include all the choirs in the neighbourhood to 
get the full benefit." 

' ' I am making arrangements for a festival service by the 
Nonconformist choirs of this city. I think such services 
(with proper management) tend to awaken better feeling, 
and hence more general interest. [Other similar replies.] 

" No, but starting on a sound basis, such a combination 
would, in my opinion, be decidedly advantageous." [The 
importance of management and sound basis are frequently 
referred to.] 

" Yes, we combine yearly with the Wesleyan choirs of 
Durham and Northumberland in giving a Service of Song in 
Newcastle. It consists of hymns and anthems by the united 
choirs, and solos, &c, from vocalists usually obtained from the 
nearest Cathedrals. The service is exceedingly popular, and 
I think it does good in the way indicated in the question." 

The Diocesan Choral Unions of the Established Church, 
with their successful and inspiring festivals in the Cathe- 
dr al, or central parish church, offer a good example of 


the strength which comes from unity, and show what may 
he done, though, perhaps, in a smaller way, by Nonconformist 
choirs. There are upwards of eighty of these Choral Unions 
in the Established Church, all of which have their patrons, 
committees of management, and staff of officers. The 
annual festival is a great event in the musical life of every 
humble village chorister who takes part, and the interest 
it excites and the necessary preparation for it, give an 
impetus to more efficient choir work in each church 

Is it not possible for Nonconformists to do some- 
thing of a similar kind in every central town ? What a 
splendid opportunity a meeting of all the neighbouring 
choirs — Baptist, Independent, Presbyterian, and Wes- 
ley an — would afford for showing that though there are 
differences of church organization and government, yet 
they could all meet together on the harmonious platform 
of worship-music. An annual Praise Demonstration, or 
Choral Festival would form a powerful stimulus to the musi- 
cal services in many churches, and in addition, it would afford 
all the ministers an excellent opportunity for " assembling 
themselves together with one accord in one place." To 
make such a festival a success, enthusiasm and interest, as 
in everything else, must be forthcoming. Ministers, 
organists, choirmasters, and choir members, each and all, 
must enter heart and soul into the scheme, or it will prove 
a failure. The initiative might be taken by some leading 
minister or organist of the district, or even by some 
influential layman. The manner of procedure must vary 
according to local circumstances, but everything should be 
done with an aim to secure smooth working of details, and 
no pains should be spared in the endeavour to make it a 
thorough success. The " Association of Choirs" project 
should rest on a firm, sound basis, and should include all 
the choirs in the district. Everything depends upon good 


management and tact on the part of the organizers, as by 
this agency, combined with careful administration, much 
good can be done in the way of improving the choirs, and 
through them their congregations. 

The oft-repeated objection to the success of such a 
proposal is contained in that wretched word — jealousy. 
It is said that " there is a want of sympathy among the 
organists," and such like trivialities. How intensely 
small and miserable they appear. It is hard to 
believe that there can be such a want of brotherly love 
and Christian charity amongst the music-leaders in our 
churches. Surely the time for enmity and " want of 
sympathy " is past ; all petty jealousies in matters of 
this kind should be considered contemptible and 
unworthy of the brotherhood of organists. Supposing, 
however, there should be a difficulty as to who should 
conduct or play the organ, it would be far better to obtain 
the services of an outsider in sympathy with the demon- 
stration or festival, as is frequently done in the church 
associations before referred to. This would remove all 
occasions of jealousy among the different organists and 
choirmasters ; and as the stranger might possibly 
point out faults which a local man would hesitate to do, 
the advantage to all who take part would be obvious. 
The music chosen for the festival could be well practised 
by each choir at their ordinary rehearsals, and unless it 
was very complicated (which it ought not to be) one full 
rehearsal, at which every singer should attend, would be 

I am quite sure that such a combination of choirs at an 
annual festival must be productive of good if it is under- 
taken in the right spirit. I could give the results of my 
own experience of a Praise Demonstration of Presby- 
terian choirs in the North of London, but I prefer to 
quote the experiences of others. The following gentlemen, 


residing in different paits of the country, have afforded 
very valuable information on this important subject, and 
I am sure their practical experiences will be perused with 
interest and profit. 

Mr. Edwin Speight, organist of Airedale College, 
Bradford, writes : — 

" Two years ago a few friends and myself initiated an 
' Association for the promotion of Congregational singing ' in 
Bradford and district, and which now comprises some 20 
choirs — Congregational, Baptist, and Presbyterian. The 
Wesleyans were pressed to join, but they have since started 
a Union of their own. We hold quarterly meetings, at 
which a paper is read, discussed, and illustrated by music. 
We have had the following subjects : — ' Chanting ; ' ' Short, 
common, and long metre hymn-tunes ; ' ' Anthems ; ' ' Use 
of organ in worship ; ' ' Choir training ; ' &c. 

"To the second question [Do you think choral festivals would 
be productive of good in promoting congregational Psalmody, 
and in awakening interest in it ?] Yes, decidedly ; but our 
experience is that special music must be got to interest the 

' ' The first choral festival of the ' Association for the promo- 
tion of Congregational singing,' was held in St. George's 
Hall, Bradford, 1886. Twenty-seven choirs of different 
denominations in the neighbourhood took part under the 
conductor ship of Mr. A. L. Cowley. All the words, and the 
music of the hymn-tunes, were printed. Financially the 
affair was a failure, as we lost £20, but I explain this : 1. We 
engaged too large and expensive a hall (holding 5,000). 
2. A large number of singers failed to take the music they 
had engaged to buy, leaving us a heavy loss that way. 
Musicially, it was, on the whole, a success. We had, of 
course, amongst the 200 to 250 singers a number of very 
inefficient musicians, and perhaps we overrated the general 
standard of ability in fixing the programme. We wished 
not alone to show the public what good congregational tunes 
can be made to do, but also to give the singers something 
difficult to make them work. The hymn-tunes and anthems 
went capitally , but ' Come let us sing ' (Mendelssohn) was 
too difficult and not so effective. 1 am, personally, no advo- 
cate of such anthems as 'By Babylon's wave' (Gounod); 
' Sing, O heavens ' (Sullivan) ; ' Hallelujah ' (Beethoven) ; — 
all sung at the festival — for use in ordinary services, but 
' The radiant morn ' (Woodward) has since been frequently 
used in several local chapels, and the choirmasters report 


'■with, success and pleasure to the congregations.' The To 
Deum was J. L. Hopkins', in G, which has also been similarly 
introduced. . . I have been told on all sides that the hymn- 
tunes, Litany, &c., produced a great impression, and I believe 
increased interest in the work of our choirs will result. 

" As to our Association, wc have just elected officers for the 
coming year. . . We are trying to start a series of meet- 
ings during the winter at different chapels. My original 
idea in suggesting this Association was mostly educational 
and social, to enable choirs to meet, confer, and help each 
other, and I hope we shall not cease to have lectures and 
discussions ; but I find many friends seem to think general 
' practices ' of the combined choirs, as being more popular, 
are the things to aim at. However, we have decided to have 
a paper read by Mr. Cowley on ' the relation of Churches to 
Choirs ' at our first meeting. 

"In a busy town like Bradford, with political, social, and 
religious meetings of every kind every night, it is no easy 
matter to keep up the interest in a new society, and we are 
often discouraged, of course ; but I believe that good has 
already come of our endeavours, and that more good will yet 
come. To sol-faists we are much indebted, our secretary, 
Mr. Murgatroyd is one, and is full of energy and resource." 

Mr. H. Sawyer, choir secretary. Congregational Church, 
"Wellingborough, writes : — 

"We have a large mixed-voice choir. For several years 
the attendance was very irregular, both at practices and 
Sunday services, and I found the cause was mainly that 
they wanted something more than ordinary Psalmody 
practice ; so I suggested we should take up a small work, 
such as ' Christ and His Soldiers,' Gaul's ' Ruth,' and 
selections from the ' Messiah,' &c. Our attendance increased 
at once, fresh applications were made to join the choir, and 
this has continued up to the present time (with little fallings 
off occasionally), till now we have upwards of 80 in our choir. 
But I must tell you we have a small chapel as well as our 
large church, where service is held only in the evening, so 
about twenty form the choir for that place of worship. Still w< i 
endeavour to keep it as one choir. About five years ago, at 
our annual choir tea and business meeting, I suggested tin- 
holding of a Choral Festival of the Nonconformist choirs 
of the town only in our- church— being the largest Non- 
conformist place of worship here. Many were afraid I 
should not be able to carry it out, but at length they adopted 
a resolution that one be held, and that the arrangements for 


the same be left to nie. . . . This first festival was a 
great success. We had about six hymns, two chants, and an 
anthem, and concluded with the singing of the ' Hallelujah 
chorus ' by the united choirs. The Wesleyan, Independent 
"Wesleyan, and Primitive Methodist choirs joined us, and we 
had nearly 200 voices. 

' ' The next year I invited a few choirs from the surrounding 
district, and found them all willing and delighted with the 
idea of taking part in such a festival. Our then organist 
visited each choir once, and again the festival was a grand 
success. We have found it better to have the hymn-tunes 
printed in a book, and to buy the anthems or choruses 
separately, as the charge for printing the anthem was much 

greater than the cost of purchasing 

" This year (1886) I had the management again. I invited 
22 choirs, of whom 21 accepted. The organist and myself 
visited all the choirs. When there were two in a village or 
town they rehearsed the music together, and those in adjacent 
villages I arranged to meet at a place nearest Welling- 
borough. . . In many of these village choirs there seemed 
to be no knowledge of music, all singing by ear ; but they 
are very enthusiastic in their practices, and seem to like the 
idea of having a centre to look to. I have received letters 
from several ministers expressing thankfulness that some- 
thing is being done for the village choirs. 

" Some time ago I wrote a letter to our Country Association 
recommending the formation of a Nonconformist choral 
association, with an executive, conductor, &c, the latter of 
whom should visit all the choirs, and train them for festivals 
in the district ; also that one system of pointing be adopted 
in chanting ; and that for ' ways and means ' each church 
should contribute a sum annually to pay expenses. I was 
thanked for my letter, and was invited to introduce the 
question at the next quarterly meeting of ministers, but I was 
reluctant to face a number of ministers. However, I think 
something of this kind would be very helpful to choirs, and 
form a union which would help us to forget our little denomi- 
national differences. I have found all denominations willingly 
take part in our festivals, and thoroughly enjoy them. 

" I have found the collections just about pay the expenses. 
This year we had a larger offertory, and as we had a preacher 
who did not charge us any fee, we have a balance in hand of 
over five pounds. We have always collected sufficient money 
among our own people to provide a free tea for all the 
choirs coming from a distance. . . We always select 
double chants ; and we divide out choirs — Decani and Cantoris 
— down both sides of our church, leaving the centre and 


galleries for the congregation. I enclose you one of this 
year's service-books, which we sold to the choirs at 3d. each, 
upon which we were able to make a small profit after selling 
the anthem at a reduced price. . . . 

" I have written you a long, rambling statement, but I hope 
you may be able to get a few hints which may prove useful. 
I know our young ppople especially like music, and if the 
Christian Church will not provide it, they will get it from 
sources which will not help or benefit them." 

[The festival of 1S86 included six hymns, two chants, and 
the anthem was Smart's "The Lord is my strength." The 
hymns were printed with expression marks throughout, and 
the Psalms were marked for antiphonal chanting.] 

Mr. H. A. AYalters, choirmaster of Croydon Presby- 
terian Church, writes : — 

" Thinking that a Choral Service undertaken by a 
combination of choirs might be productive of good in many 
ways, we arranged for a meeting of organists, choirmasters, 
and others to talk the matter over. The outcome of this 
meeting was the formation of the C.X.C.C.A. , on the following 
basis. Resolved — 1. That a union of the Nonconformist 
Church Choirs of Croydon be formed, to be called ' The 
Croydon Nonconformist Church Choir Association.' 2. That 
the object of the Association be the holding of an annual 
festival, in the shape of a Choral Service, with a view to 
(a) promoting a friendly feeling between tho different 
denominations, and (b) improving the singing and en- 
couraging a taste for good music in the churches. 3. That 
the festival be held in rotation at such of the churches 
represented as are suitable in every respect, provided they 
are available for the purpose. 4. That the service be 
conducted by ministers of various denominations, and a 
well-known and popular man be procured to preach on each 
occasion. 5. That each year, not later than March, the 
secretary shall call a meeting of organists and choirmasters 
to arrange the details of the festival. 6. That the offertory 
at each festival be devoted to defraying expenses, any 
balance to be handed to some local charity." 

[The first festival was held in 1885, at Croydon Presbyterian 
Church, in which nine choirs (Baptist, Congregational, Presby- 
terian, and TVesleyan) took part. The music included four 
hymns, three chants, Jackson's Te DeuminF, and for anthems, 
Tours's " Blessing and Glory," and Himmel's " come, let 
us worship" — all of which (excepting the anthems and Te 


Deum) were printed, with expression marks, &c, in the 
" order of service."] 

In reply to my enquiry as to the continued existence 
of the C.N.C.C.A., Mr. Walters writes :— 

" The C.N. CCA. is still in existence and working satis- 
factorily. We held our second festival in June of the present 
year (1886). The order of service was practically the same 
as before, the principal anthem was Gounod's ' Unfold, ye 
portals everlasting' {Redemption). . . . The minister of 
the church (this time Congregational) presided, giving out the 
hymns, &c, the rest of the service being taken by ministers of 
various denominations. Next year we are hoping to hold 
the festival at another church. 

' ' We have not at present found any very great dimculty 
in working this united service, making up our minds to give 
and take a little, so to speak, and to conform in some slight 
measure to the style of service in use at the church where 
the festival is held." 




The organ has been honoured with the designation — 
" King of Instruments." However, many musical 
monarchs, like their human prototypes, are often deficient 
in regal attributes. If a census of all the church organs 
in this country (especially those in Nonconformist 
churches) could be taken and classified under the headings, 
"good." "bad," and "indifferent," the "good" record 
would be a miserably small one compared with the "bad" 
and " indifferent." Organs naturally become decrepid 
with age — though a well-built organ, under good 
conditions and with fair wear and tear, will last a long 
time; but the majority of the wretched specimens that 
are constantly to be met with, surfer from a variety 
of internal complaints from their very birth. Their 
elaborate cases and gaudily-decorated fronts give them 
a healthy appearance ; but like a diseased man with a 
ruddy complexion, their facial rubicundity is no index 
to their disorganised insides. 

English organ builders have, in some instances, con- 
siderably degenerated from the glorious traditions of 
their predecessors. The prefix "jerry" is not inapplicable 
to some of the craft, whose first, and often only con- 
sideration is to make money rather than substantial 
and artistic organs. A "cheap and nasty" organ is 


an infliction both to players and hearers. Organ 
committees are jnst as much — if not more — to blame 
than the jerry organ builders for encouraging them 
in manufacturing a cheap instrument, which means 
nothing more than inferior quality of materials combined 
with scamped workmanship. If all who have the 
ordering of organs would be content with getting a small 
good organ from a builder of repute, they would receive 
far greater value for their money than if they spent 
it on an inferior, albeit a larger instrument. It cannot 
be too emphatically stated that a cheap organ is in reality 
a dear one in the long run ; therefore, the prevailing 
custom of running after cheap things should not be 
followed in selecting an organ builder. There are several 
ways whereby an organ can be cheapened in manufacture 
and yet not be noticeable to the general run of organ 
committees, but it would take too much space and be 
too technical to enumerate them here ; some of the 
more glaring "dodges" in this direction will be referred 
to in the remarks on organ specifications. 

Supposing an organ is considered inefficient for the 
duties required of it, that it is out of repair, too old, 
too small, or generally unsuitable, the questions will 
naturally arise, " Shall we have our present organ 
repaired, rebuilt, or modernized, or shall we have a 
new one?" Supposing there is no particular difficulty 
as to funds, only an expert who has actually played upon 
and examined the existing organ can satisfactorily answer 
the questions. As a rule, if both the tone and the 
mechanism are bad, nothing short of a new organ will meet 
all requirements. If, however, the tone is fairly good and 
the mechanism generally defective, then some of, perhaps 
all, the pipes might be incorporated in the renovated 
instrument. It is often more expedient (financially and 
otherwise) to sell the old instrument out and out for 
its fair value, and to start clear with an entirely new one. 


The cost of the organ. This, of course, has to be 
governed by the question of ' ; ways and means;" but 
a guide as to what it ought to cost has been furnished 
by so eminent an authority on organ matters as Dr. 
Stainer, who says* (I suppose he refers to a first-class 
builder) : — 

' ' Some years ago I made a very rough and ready rule 
by which you can always find out roughly the cost your 
organ ought to be by the number of sittings. It ought to 
be £1 a head. If you have a church holding 500 people, 
if you spend £500 on the organ, you will have one large 
enough for the purpose. If you have a church holding 
1,000 people, spend £1,000, and if you have a very fine 
church, which holds 2,000, you may spend £2,000 on the 
organ. From 3,500 to 4,000 people can be accommodated 
under the dome of St. Paul's [Cathedral] within hearing of 
the preacher, and our organ cost £3,500. The Albert Hall 
[London] holds about 9,000 or 10,000 people, and I believe 
that is exactly the cost of the organ there." 

In accepting this, much depends upon the position of 
the organ, and the kind of building in which it is placed. 
A small organ well placed in a lofty, resonant building 
without galleries will be far more effective than a larger 
organ in a low-roofed church with heavy galleries and 
which is devoid of good acoustical properties. The ravishing 
effect of the old organ in Westminster Abbey was due 
not so much to the instrument, as it was a comparatively 
poor one as organs go now-a-days, as to the magnificent 
resonance of the glorious old minster. 

Suppose a sum of money — say £450 — is about to 
be spent on the organ in a church seating 600 people. 
It will be a far better and wiser policy to order an organ 
from some trustworthy builder to cost when completed 
£600 ; but only to spend £450 upon it at first, leaving 
some of the stops to be added at some future period, 
instead of employing an inferior builder who would, 
apparently, build the instrument complete for £450. 

* " Proceedings of the Musical Association," 1885-6. p. 85. (Stanley- 
Lucas & Co.). 


To explain this it must be remembered that the 
sound-boards (upon which the pipes stand), the mechan- 
ism, bellows, &c, have to be made their complete size when 
the organ is first erected, but all the pipes need not be 
inserted at first, only those that are absolutely necessary and 
that can be procured for the sum which the committee 
are able to afford. By this arrangement all the mechanism 
is prepared for at the beginning, it is only some of 
the stops (sets of pipes) that are omitted. Again, this 
plan provides those who have the necessary means with 
the opportunity of giving certain stops to complete 
the instrument. Mr. Brown might call the harmonic 
flute his stop ; Mr. Jones might refer to the clarionet 
as "my stop;" Mr. Eobinson might pride himself on 
knowing that he paid for the trumpet stop, and so on. 

This leads to the consideration of the specification 
of the organ. The specification should be submitted 
to some qualified professional man, who has had 
experience in the ways and doings of organ builders, 
so that the organ committee may be prepared for 
the little weaknesses that some organ builders, at least, 
are guilty of. For instance, a specification may show 
a list of 20 stops ; but an expert will quickly see 
that some half-dozen of them are only what are called 
"half-stops," i.e., they do not run through the entire 
manual, but only to tenor C. Double diapason and 
bourdon on the swell of most organs would appear to 
be two stops on paper, whereas in reality they are only 
equal to one, as the former affects 44 notes only (counting 
from the top), and the latter the remaining 12, on a 
manual of CC to G compass. Again, some of the 
important stops are what are called "grooved;" i.e., 
the lowest 12 notes of the open diapason on the swell, 
for instance, are grooved into the stopped diapason, 
so that the notes below tenor C are of different 
quality and power from those above it. As the pipes 


of the lowest 12 notes on the manual cost almost as much 
as the remaining 44, it will readily be seen that the 
builder can save a great deal by the practice of this 
little " dodge." Again, there is the paramount importance 
of having good, ample bellows, large wind trunks, well 
constructed sound-boards, perfect and quiet mechanism 
as regards the key and draw-stop action, good spotted 
metal in the pipe work, excellence in the voicing of 
the pipes, &c. It stands to reason that a builder who 
sinks a large capital in wood so that it may be thoroughly 
well-seasoned (a most important factor in organ building), 
who employs none but skilled voicers and efficient 
workmen, and who constructs his instrument as a work 
of art, will naturally expect a larger remuneration 
than he who will turn out an instrument as a jerry- 
built piece of cheap furniture. One is an artist who 
prides himself upon every detail of his work, and gives 
his personal attention in seeing that it is thoroughly 
well done ; the other looks only at the large number 
of organs he can " turn out," and for the cheque which, 
so far as he is concerned, finishes the transaction. It 
cannot be too emphatically laid down that a cheap organ 
is usually a dear one. In any case I strongly advise 
organ committees before deciding, to hear the organs 
and see the specimens of the different builders' work 
other than their " show organs," and to seek the aid 
of some technically-qualified musician as their organ- 

The size of the organ is of necessity regulated by its 
cost and the capacity of the building in which it is placed. 
However, there are one or two general ideas which occur 
to me that may be useful in the consideration of 
the plan for an organ, especially for a congregational- 
singing church. Many organs lack a good, solid founda- 
tion tone (8ft.) After all, this is the backbone and 
chief characteristic of the organ. Oboes, flutes, clarionets, 


and trumpets are instruments common enough, but the 
peculiar quality belonging to the open diapason stop is only 
to be found in the "King of instruments"; therefore, 
the open diapason — the Prime Minister of this musical 
monarch — should have a full, sonorous, grand tone. 

In the 8ft. diapason department (excluding gambas) of 
an average great organ there are usually an open diapason, a 
stopped diapason, or lieblich (which is almost the same thing) , 
and a dulciana, or salcional. Now it seems to me that 
this is a mistake. First, there is scarcely any difference 
in power between the dulciana and stopped diapason. 
The dulciana is only of use as an accompaniment stop to 
the oboe on the swell, and of no value as a solo stop. 
"When the open diapason is drawn, the dulciana might just 
as well be absent, and, to some extent, so might the 
stopped diapason. Neither of these stops is requisite for 
soft, sustained chords, as, generally speaking, they can be 
played on the swell. Second, the open diapason is 
generally fully voiced, as it ought to be ; but when it is 
put in nearly all the tone seems to be gone, and when 
it is drawn it is often startling in its effect. In these 
days when expression in hymn singing has become a sine qua 
non, what is wanted is that the three 8ft. stops on the 
great organ shall be equal to /, mf, and p; instead of 
/, p, and pp, as they are usually found. To secure this I 
would have the stops thus : — open diapason, ]S T o. 1 (large 
scale) ; open diapason No. 2 (small scale), or harmonic 
flute (8ft.) ; and lieblich, or stopped diapason. This plan 
would permit of a gentler contrast, instead of such 
a violent one ; and the three together, if they properly 
blended, would make a fine, penetrating ground-tone. 
An objection might be that when there are only two 
manuals it would deprive the oboe of any accompanying 
stop; but, as a matter of fact, unless the oboe is particularly 
good and the dulciana is very soft and mellow, there will 
be very little lost, as very often the accompaniment is 


heard above the solo, especially if the swell is placed 
behind the great organ and when the swell box is closed. 
I would also treat the 4ft. stops (the octave above) in a 
similar manner. The principal would be octave to the open 
diapason No. 1, and a bright, telling harmonic flute would 
be octave to open diapason Xo. 2, or harmonic flute (8ft.). 
An effective great organ of only 6 stops could be con- 
structed on this basis, if all the stops were carried 
through ; there would be, as a primary condition, a good 
" chorus" organ, with variety in tone, yet without violent 
contrast ; in addition, there would be three good solo stops 
— open diapason No. 2 (for solos in the tenor and bass 
octave), lieblich, and harmonic flute (4ft). Then I would 
add a trumpet, and to get brilliancy, a super octave 
coupler for both manuals. The swell could be arranged 
on a slightly dilferent plan to produce variety. 

Here is a specimen specification on the above lines, 
which would also serve as the nucleus of a larger 


Oj>en Diapason, No. 1. S 
Open Diapason, No. 2. 8 
Lieblich gedact 8 

Lieblich gedact 16 

Open diapason 8 

Lieblich gedact 8 

Principal 4 Harmonic flute 4 

Harmonic flute 4 Piccolo-harmonic 2 

Trumpet (reed) 8 | Oboe S 


Open Diapason 16 | Bourdon 16 


Swell to Great 
Great super octave 
Swell super octave 

Great to pedal 
Swell to pedal 

Manual compass — CC to a 1 " 58 notes 
Pedal compass — CCC to F 30 notes. 

One or two general remarks before I pass on to consider 
the position of the organ. 


Where funds and space permit, I should advise the 
purchase of a three manual organ with a few stops on each 
manual, rather than one with only two manuals. For 
instance, in an organ of sixteen manual stops, it is hetter 
to have three manuals with six stops on both great 
and swell (as above), and four on the choir; than a two 
manual organ with eight stops on each key board. 
With the addition of super octave couplers an immense 
variety of solo and other effects can be produced ; yet, 
at the same time, the chorus work of the organ — which 
is absolutely necessary to support congregational singing 
— would not be neglected. If it is a question of funds, 
the entire third manual (choir organ) could be prepared 
for and added at some future time. 

There should be two stops at least on the pedal, except 
in very small instruments — an open diapason and a bourdon . 
If it is only possible to have one stop, a large scale 
bourdon is preferable to the boom of an open diapason, as 
the latter becomes an infliction when used with the soft 
manual stops ; but every effort should be made to have 
at least two pedal stops. 

The selection of stops is not always happily made. 
The first consideration should be given to the founda- 
tion stops, as they are of far greater importance than 
fancy stops of the voix celestes and vox humana class. 
It should be remembered that numbers are not everything ; 
a mere mulitiplication of stops is often undesirable. 
Quality, not quantity, should be the desideratum. Each 
stop should have its own distinct individuality, and should 
so manifest itself when added to others already drawn ; 
and, while doing this, it should blend with its confreres so 
beautifully that they all seem to be one happy family, 
while each and all retain their special characteristics. 

The customary arrangement of organ key-boards makes 
it almost impossible for the organist to hear his instrument 


properly. The swell is usually at the back of the instru- 
ment, while the great organ often overhangs the player s 
head. It is an immense advantage for the key-boards to 
be away from the organ. The arrangement of the organ 
at Westminster Abbey is excellent in this respect. The 
key-boards are placed on the choir screen and the organ 
is divided and located on the north and south sides of the 

In large organs, the pneumatic action should be applied 
to the great organ, and also to the swell and pedal organs if 
their respective soundboards are at some distance from 
the keys. It is a somewhat expensive outlay at first, but 
it is a great saving of labour to the player. It is very 
important that the pneumatic action be thoroughly well 
made in the first instance, or it will be easily affected by 
damp or heat, and will thus cause more trouble and an- 
noyance than the ordinary tracker action. 

An excellent^substitute for the usual long tracker and 
draw-stop movements, &c, in large or separated organs, is 
the " pneumatic tubular transmission system." Willis's 
divided organ in St. Paul's Cathedral is a good example. 
The pedal-organ is under one of the arches of the chancel, 
the great and solo organs and the key-board are on the 
north side, and the choir and swell on the south side of 
the church ; yet the response of each pipe to the touch on the 
key is instantaneous, although so great a distance intervenes. 
Lewis has applied it to the pedal organ at Eipon Cathedral, 
where the distance is 30 feet from the manuals direct. The 
same builder's organ at Hillhead Baptist Chapel, Glasgow, is 
entirely tubular pneumatic — manual, pedal, and draw- 
stop. It is possible to get instantaneous speech at a 
distance of from 40 to 50 feet by this wonderful mechan- 
ical power. A serious obstacle to its general adoption is 
its great expense. I am told upon excellent authority that 
the cost is about £75 per manual extra, and pedal £50. 
The distance from key to pallet does not greatly affect the 

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' ' The organ is raised about eight feet from the floor behind 
the pulpit. The choir sit in front of the pulpit facing the 

<k The organ is in a very tall recess behind the rostrum. 
The choir are in two rows in front of the organ— trebles and 
basses in front row, altos and tenors in back row. The choir 
gallery projects sufficiently for almost all the voices to be 
clear of the recess. Singing there is easy : the voices tell, 
and really lead the congregation." 

' 'The west-end [facing the pulpit] for effect, but for con- 
venience, temperature, and perhaps greater assistance to the 
congregation, the east, or pulpit end. I mention temperature 
because my organ is always out of tune during the evening 

' ' The pulpit end is the best ; for there both choir and organ 
have a much greater command over the congregation, and 
can lead more efficiently." [Organ and choir are opposite 
the pulpit.] 

" My organ and choir are at the end gallery of the church 
facing the pulpit— the worst possible place. The choir should 
be in front of pulpit; organ behind pulpit and keyboard 
brought in front, so that the organist can sit in the centre of 
his choir." [Several similar replies.] 

" In most cases at the opposite end to the pulpit. The 
organ has then free scope for sounding, and the choir imme- 
diately in front of it." 

' ' The gallery is certainly the best place in our church for 
effective singing; but the congregation would sing better 
were the choir placed in the area before the congregation and 
facing them." 

" Unfortunately we are in the gallery— a fatal blunder in 
most Dissenting chapels. We hope to get this position 
altered. The best place is to the right or left of the pulpit, 
if the latter be in a central position." 

" When possible in the chancel, which is being introduced 
into new churches. A most advantageous plan has recently 
been introduced into one of our churches. The organ is on 
the new electric system, by which the organist turns his back 
on the speaking part of his instrument and faces the choir. 
The key-board is arranged like an American organ." 

" We are in a recess at the back of the pulpit, on an archi- 
tectural abomination called an orchestra, frequently found in 

" I have seen a suggestion to place the organ and choir at 
the opposite end to the pulpit, so that the congregation may 


be better encouraged to sing, but the one case I know has 
not, I think, had that effect." 

"The choir is divided into two complete portions which 
sit, facing each other, on either side of the nave. The choir 
pews are raised about a foot from the ground. As there is no 
chancel our organ is placed in one of the transepts — that on the 
right hand looking towards the pulpit. ... I think the 
choir should certainly be in front of the congregation and the 
organ as near to the choir as practicable. I do not like a 
choir facing the congregation, and in order to get the proper 
effect of antiphonal singing there is, in my opinion, no better 
arrangement than the divided choir." [English Presby- 
terian Church.] 

"We are in a shell-chapel recess of excellent acoustic 
proportions behind the pulpit and facing the congregation. 
I consider this the best position in a chapel of the old 
Wesleyan model like ours which has a gallery all round with 
central ' well.' " 

•' When our new organ was being erected the choir, with an 
American organ, were on the ground floor on either side of 
the pulpit. "We found this position very effective. There 
was no room to put the organ downstairs or we should have 
brought it down with the choir." [Organ now in gallery 
behind pulpit.] 

" We have no organ. The choir sit in front of the pulpit 
or platform, rather far forward and to an outsider appear part 
of the congregation. This seems a good arrangement." 

' ' I think it advisable that an amateur choir should see the 

" In front of the congregation, raised a step or so above 
the floor of the church, is best, as being of greater assistance 
to the congregation, and tending to preserve proper behaviour 
in the choir." (!) 

" The organ is in a recess behind the pulpit, the choir 
occupies the first three pews in the nave. Probably this is 
the best place for organ in a Presbyterian Church. In my 
church the above place for the choir is the most suitable/" 
[English Presbyterian Minister.] 

" I like position of my choir and organ. It is in a gallery 
(behind the pulpit) for the choir and organ only. The 
manuals stretch out so far from the pipes that with three 
rows on each side and boys in the centre I am almost in the 
same position as a conductor would be, and can beat time 
with one hand while pla^ ing with the other. I think this 
position is exceptional and has many advantages." 

" Choir and organ should be together. It is very difficult 
to obtain precision when the organ is situate in a* different 
part of the church from the choir." 


" The pipes of my organ are behind the pulpit and the 
keyboard below it. The choir sit round this on a platform 
raised about 18 inches above the floor of the church. The 
organ being an afterthought this was the only part of the 
Church where it could be satisfactorily placed. On the 
whole, I believe this position to be the best for Presbyterian 
Churches such as ours, although it is not so pleasant or com- 
fortable for the minister." 

Statistics of Questions. 

Question 1. — "In what part of the church are the 
organ and choir placed? received 201 definite replies, distri- 
buted thus : — 

" Choir mixed throughout the congregation " . . 1 

" In one of the transepts " 1 

" Organ one end, choir the other " 2 

" In the gallery opposite the pulpit," behind 
the congregation " 32 

" Pulpit end, in front of the congregation." 165. 

Of those " In the gallery opposite the pulpit," 27 out 
of 32 are of opinion that the " Pulpit end " is the best 

Question 2. " Which do you consider the best place for 
the organ and choir P" received 193 definite replies, as 
follows : — 

" Centre of church " 2 

" Organ one end, choir the other " 2 

" Opposite the pulpit, behind the congregation "18 
" Pulpit end, in front of the congregation" 170 

One correspondent, calling himself a New Testament 
Presbyterian," thinks " the best place for the organ is 
outside the church." 


Reducing these statistics to two issues, it will be found 
that while 18 prefer the "west gallery" — behind the 
the congregation — 152 are in favour of the pulpit end of 
the church — in front of the people — for the position of 
the organ and choir. A majority of 152 on a poll of 170 
is a very substantial one, and as it records the opinions of 
practical organists and choirmasters of congregational- 
singing churches of various denominations in all parts of 
the country, it carries great weight with it, and leaves 
very little doubt as to where the organ and choir ought to 
be placed in order to lead the singing of the congregation 
efficiently and satisfactorily. 

After such a decided expression of opinion from my 
brother organists it might seem presumptuous to state my 
own preference in the choice of situation ; but having 
tested three different positions in the three separate 
churches in which I have held appointments, there is, 
perhaps, less need of apology for recording my own ex- 
perience in each instance. 

In the first church — octagonal in form, with a g illery all 
round — the organ and choir were in the gallery behind 
the pulpit. In the second — a magnificent Gothic cruci- 
form edifice with chancel and transepts — the organ was on 
the left of the chancel (looking towards the pulpit), and 
slightly raised above the floor of the church, while the 
choir (40) were seated on the opposite side to the organ, 
not facing the congregation, but looking towards the key- 
board side of the instrument, so that, by the aid of a mirror 
all the singers could see any movement of the organist's 
hand. In the third — a long, narrow T-shaped building, 
devoid of all resonance, with transepts at the pulpit end — 
the choir are in the shallow gallery opposite the pulpit ; 
and behind, them is the organ almost buried in a chamber 
which is really the first floor of the steeple, consequently 
the instrument is practically beyond the four walls of the 
church ; and as the only opening to the main building 


is a low arch, much of its beautiful tone is lost, and in 
the transepts — where the congregation are generally about 
a note behind the choir — some of the soft stops in the swell 
can scarcely be heard. 

!My experience of these three different positions of organ 
and choir enables me without the slightest hesitation to 
heartily endorse the opinion of the majority of my brother 
organists, who state that the best and most satisfactory 
position for the organ and choir is at the p ulp it end of the 
church, in front of the congregation. 

In order to gain further information on this important 
subject I thought it might prove interesting and valuable 
to elicit the opinions of some of the greater lights of 
the organist and choirmaster world for this work. I 
therefore put this question to some of our eminent church 
musicians, " Which do you consider the best place for the 
organ and choir for leading the congregation — the gallery, 
behind the congregation ; or the pulpit end of the church, 
in front of the congregation?" In response came the sub- 
joined replies from the following well-known musicians. 

Dr. Stainer, organist of St. Paul's Cathedral, writes : — 

' ' Speaking generally, I should say that an organ placed 
behind a congregation gives more support to their voices than 
when in front ; but I also think that there are other reasons 
besides musical reasons for this. There can be no doubt 
when a congregation can see a choir (whether surpliced or not) 
there is a natural tendency to listen rather than to take part. 
When, however, a choir and organ are behind a congregation, 
this temptation ceases to exist, and the congregation feels 
compelled (I might almost say driven) to exert itself in the 

music. . . . 

" You ask about St. Pauls ; it is in many ways an excep- 
tional place. In hymn-singing I find that the sound of the 
choir and organ (as' now placed) passes up the dome and down 
again to the ears of the people sitting between the centre and 
the back of the dome -floor, hence they 'drag' dreadfully; and 
I can see no remedy for this. But nevertheless we sometimes 
have some magnificent congregational singing in St. Paul's, 
especially at our simple quasi-parochial Sunday evening 


" I do not think a west-end organ would mend matters, 
unless the nave were ' seated ' and used as a separate 

Dr. "W. H. Monk, musical editor of " Hymns Ancient 
and Modern." writes : — 

' ' I have no doubt that the place of both choir and organ 
in a modern church is right, i.e., in front of the congregation; 
but the choir should not sing towards the people ; the position 
of the choir (Decani and Cantoris) as in a cathedral is the 
only sensible one." 

Dr. J. F. Bridge, organist of Westminster Abbey, 
writes : — 

' ' My own preference is for the organ and choir to be at 
the east-end ; but for leading congregational singing — which 
would not, of course, be elaborate— I do not think it greatly 
matters. One thing is important — the choir and organ 
should always be placed together — not as in some places, 
choir in the east and organ in the west. This never 

Dr. A. L. Peace, organist of Glasgow Cathedral, 
writes : — 

"In reply to your note, the best position for the organ 
depends much upon the size and character of the bunding. 
As a rule, it would be better on the ground floor for the sake 
of height — either behind the pulpit, with the organist in front 
(so as to be near the choir) or at the side ; or, better still, 
divided on either side. This position is also the best for the 
choir, as they are better heard and better followed by the 
congregation. Should this arrangement necessitate cramping 
of the instrument, however, the west gallery should have the 
preference, although it is not satisfactory for either organ or 
choir to be placed behind the congregation, and should only 
be adopted when the space is too limited at the pulpit end of 
the church." 

Mr. "W. C. Stockley, organist and choirmaster of Carr's 
Lane Chapel, Birmingham (Rev. Dr. R. W. Dale, 
minister) writes : — 

"I very much prefer the organ and choir behind the 

Mr. Ebenezer Prout, B.A., organist of Union Chapel, 
Islington (Rev. Dr. Allon, minister) from 1861 to 1872, 
writes : — 



' ' My opinion is that the best place for organ and choir is 
in a gallery behind the pulpit ; in any case, the organ and 
choir should always be together— never the organ at one end 
of the chapel and the choir at the other." 

Mr. Fountain Meen, present (1886) organist of Union 
Chapel, Islington, writes : — 

" I arn decidedly in favour of the organ and choir being 
placed in. front of the congregation." 

Mr. "W. G. McXaught, A.K.A.M., Her Majesty's Assist- 
ant Inspector of Music, writes : — 

" I led the singing for ten years at Stepney Meeting 
(London) in Dr. Kennedy's time. We had a choir. We 
tried it all ways — at the back, at the side, and in front of 
the congregation. Opinions differed as to the relative ad- 
vantage of these positions, but I thought it best for the 
choir to be with me under the pulpit (there was no organ 
then); and so it was finally settled." 

Mr. Hugh McNabb, Glasgow, writes : — 

' ' My opinion is that when the choir and organ have to 
lead the congregational singing the most effective place is in 
front of the congregation." 

The Rev. Sir Frederick A. G. Ouseley, Bart., and 
Mr. Joseph Barnby courteously intimated that they were 
unable to give definite answers to the questions, the former 
referring to the substance of his paper " On the position 
of organs in churches " read before the Musical Association 
on February 1st, 1886, extracts from which are quoted in 
this chapter. 

As the consensus of opinion is strongly in favour of 
the pulpit end of the church, with a preference for the 
key-board in front of the pulpit while the instru- 
ment itself is behind, I thought it would serve a prac- 
tical purpose if I could obtain some drawings to show 
what has actually been done in this direction. Mr. T. C. 
Lewis kindly consented to carry out my suggestion, and, 
through his representative in Glasgow, has furnished 
me with some scale plans of organs in Glasgow Churches — 
two of which as representing the rest, are added to the 
text. These plans are of churches which were not originally 



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built for the reception of organs, so for the present pur- 
pose they are all the more valuable as illustrations, 
especially as their respective organs were erected by 
different builders. 

PLAN A. Free College Church, Glasgow. Italian 
style. Organ of three manuals by Messrs. T. C. Lewis and 
Co., Limited. Twenty-two sounding stops. Tubular pneu- 
matic action to pedals. Blown by one of Bamford's hydraulic 

PLAN B. Wellington United Presbyterian Church, 
Glasgow. Classic style. Organ of three manuals, and (when 
completed) 34 sounding stops, by Messrs. Foster & Andrews, 
Hull. Blown by hydraulic engine. Pneumatic (not tubular) 
machines are applied to the great and swell organs. The 
choir and pedal are acted on by trackers only. Length of 
trackers from keys to pull-downs, 19ft. 

In sending these plans Messrs. Lewis's representative 
writes as follows, and as he is .practically acquainted with 
the working of these details, his remarks are valuable : — 

' ' With regard to position of organ, there is no doubt that 
the central one — i.e., immediately in front of the pulpit with 
organ behind pulpit —gives most general satisfaction. . . . 
The arrangement at Free College Church (Plan A) appears to 
have given, from enquiries I have made, as great satisfaction 
as any I know of ; more particularly as it is an old 
church, built without provision for an organ, and therefore 
an adaptation example. 

" At Bellhaven U.P. Church (Glasgow) the organ is placed 
(with choir) in a gallery behind pulpit, over the vestries, 
likewise at Queen's Park U.P. Church (Glasgow) ; but in 
both instances the position is considered too high, and the 
question of lowering them has been discussed with a 
probability of its being carried out. 

" Willis's new organ at Kelvinside Free Church is placed 
behind pulpit with keys in front, a small chamber being built 
out specially for it." 

Messrs. Forster and Andrews, the well-known organ 
builders of Hull, write: — 

" We prefer the organ to be on the floor — raised about two 
f cot— and not in a gallery, as the tone ascending from a 
gallery gets smothered and lost. The position you prefer — 
' Behind the pulpit, keys in front, and choir round about ' — ■ 
is also our choice. We have organs in Scotland arranged in 


this way [see plan B]— the last one is at Elgin Free Church. 
This arrangement suits the Scotch choirs, as they are usually 
selected from the elite of the congregation, and the choir 
pews are carpeted and the seats made specially comfortable." 

The advantages of the ground floor position with the 
organ as much in the main building as possible — as at 
Union Chapel, Islington, and Stepney Meeting — are 
obvious. If there is any objection to its being behind 
the minister, it may be placed on the right or left of the 
pulpit (when that is in the centre of the church), but this 
position is not so good for diffusing the sound equally 
throughout the church as the central one. As to whether 
the organ should be raised or stand upon the ground-floor 
much depends on the structure of the building, galleries, 
&c, and also the height of the sound-boards, but for most 
reasons, especially that of temperature, it should not be 
too much elevated. 

The central position for the organ and choir in front of 
the congregation is undoubtedly the best for leading the 
Praise Service. Another advantage of this position is that 
the organ is more conveniently situated for the sacred 
concerts, recitals, and special musical services which are 
now so much in vogue. If it is behind the audience those 
in the body of the church have to turn round to see what 
is going on ; and it is a most unsatisfactory arrangement 
for the choir to be at one end of the church and the organ 
the other — all competent judges are unanimous on this 

.Supposing the central position be decided upon, the 
key-boards should be brought out from the organ and 
the organist will then sit just behind the minister when 
he occupies his chair at the communion table. The 
organist could have a screen at his back to hide him from 
the public gaze, and at its reverse Bide the minister's chair 
(Communion) could be placed. This arrangement has 
been carried out in the new organ (Willis) in the 3 lamp- 
stead Congregational Church. The connection between 


keys and pallets could be made by trackers running under- 
neath the pulpit, or, better still, by tubular pneumatic or 
electric action. 

The choir should be in the immediate vicinity of the 
organist's seat. It is very desirable that they should not 
face the congregation. The best arrangement is a divided 
choir, not too far apart, sitting sideways to the congre- 
gation — one half facing the other (as shown in the 
accompanying plans) so that antiphonal singing may be 
exercised. If there is no accommodation for them on or 
round about the platform in front of the pulpit, they could 
occupy some seats in the first two or three pews in 
the body of the church. 

To sum up the advantages of this position, (I) it would 
give the organist the opportunity of hearing the effects of 
his organ at a distance from the instrument, instead of his 
being deceived in its power when he is close to it; (2) it would 
enable him to be in the midst of his choir, and when 
necessary, to occasionally conduct with a disengaged hand ; 
(3) it would secure better time, greater precision, and 
prompter attack by choir and congregation ; and (4) in 
every way it would promote efficiency in the rendering of 
the " Service of Song." 

One objection that is olfered to this position is, to some 
extent, a reasonable one. It is said that it gives the 
minister a little too much of the organ tone, and that, 
therefore, it is distracting to a sensitive man. 15 ut, sup- 
posing him to be sensitive, if he is of a self-sacrificing 
nature and could see that the placing of the organ behind 
him would materially increase the efficiency of the praise 
service in his church, he would willingly suffer a little 
inconvenience rather than stand in the way of doing any- 
thing that would further its natural development. Again, 
a minister does not always remain in the same charge all 
his life ; he sometimes changes his sphere of labour. I 
know of a case in point. A new organ, costing about 


£800, was about to be erected to replace an old instru- 
ment that occupied the " west gallery." Several of the 
church committee were very anxious to have the new 
organ placed at the pulpit end of the church. Some of 
the office-bearers objected to an organ altogether, and 
especially to any change of position, as did also the 
minister, to the latter very strongly indeed. One of the 
committee begged the minister to withdraw his oppo- 
sition, and himself offered to defray the necessary expense 
of the alterations, but the minister was inexorable and 
would not give way. If the erection of the new organ 
had been delayed, it is just possible it might have had a 
better resting place than the hole which it now occupies, 
and where much of its beautiful tone is sacrificed, for 
within seven months of its opening the minister in question 
removed to another church where he found the organ 
hehincl the pulpit, and there it still remains. Such a tale 
needs no adornment, but it points a very instructive moral. 

It only remains to refer briefly to other positions than 
the central one at the pulpit end. 

The gallery position, in whatever part of the church, 
should be avoided if possible, chiefly on the ground of 
variation of temperature, which seriously affects the pitch 
and tune of the organ. If the instrument is placed in the 
" west gallery " (facing the pulpit) it covers up the west 
window and darkens the church, unless the organ is 
divided. Moreover, with all due respect to some authori- 
ties, a congregation will be more easily led than driven. 
Most chorus singers will admit that it is much easier to 
sing with the instrumental accompaniment in front of them 
than behind them ; and if this holds good with trained 
choristers, who have the additional advantage of a con- 
ductor, surely it is most desirable — in fact, almost 
necessary — for an untrained congregation to have the 
musical forces in front of them to encourage them on, 
instead of propelling them from the rear. 


Galleries all round the church frequently destroy the 
resonance of the building. Happy is the church (acous- 
tically) that is without them. The magnificent effect of 
the divided organ in All Saints', Margaret Street, London, 
is primarily due to the absence of galleries, and secondly 
to the loftiness of the church. 

Organ chambers, apses, and recesses are generally un- 
suitable receptacles, unless there is plenty of height both as 
regards the chamber itself and the arches which form its 
open sides. The tone of many a fine organ has been simply 
ruined by being placed in what the Kev. Sir F. Ouseley 
calls "an abomination of modern invention," — an organ 
chamber. Sir Frederick says further on this point : — 

" Organs are obliged to be voiced much louder than is 
consistent with fine tone, in order to make themselves heard 
at all under such unfavourable conditions ; and not only so, 
but the large sixteen feet pipes are usually so hidden away 
behind the instrument that they are scarcely audible in the 
church, while the mixtures seem doubly shrill and strident by 
contrast. Moreover, the mechanism is often inconveniently 
crowded, causing frequent derangement and cyphering, and 
the bellows are often injured by damp in so confined a space. 
I must, once for all, utter my indignant protest against 
organ chambers." 

There are very few organists who will not endorse 
every word of what Sir Frederick has here uttered, and 
who will not heartily second him in his outspoken protest. 

It only remains to refer to the vexed question of 
temperature as it affects the organ. Most organists are 
sorely troubled by the organ's being out of tune when the 
church becomes very hot. The variations of temperature 
in churches, especially in the winter, are extraordinary. 
Unless the building is regularly warmed it will be 
within the mark to say that it varies from 40° one day 
to 75 another; no wonder that the pitch and tune of the 
organ suffer in consequence. That bete noire of architects 
and church committees — ventilation, or absence of venti- 
lation — is to a great extent the cause of the trouble, for, as 


Dr. Pole truly says, " In small buildings no doubt 
ventilation is far too little attended to." 

Even so eminent an authority and experienced a 
church musician as the Rev. Sir Frederick Ouseley is 
apparently unable to solve the difficulty which tries so 
many organists and listeners. The Oxford Professor, in 
relating his own experience as a listener, says : — 

' ' I remember once being called upon to preach a sermon 
on a choral occasion in a very large church, where the organ 
was erected in the triforiuni. It was an organ of two 
manuals, the great organ was placed very much in the front, 
but the swell box was quite behind, and was very much shut 
out from the rest — quite in the roof, in fact— the result being 
that when the church got hot the great organ was nearly a 
semitone sharper than the swell, and it was impossible to 
couple them together. I should like to have some suggestion 
as to whether a plan could be adopted to neutralise the very 
evil result of a rise in pitch from heat. It is monstrous that 
singers, when they are themselves exhausted by the heat, 
should have to sing half a tone sharper than they otherwise 
would have to do. It is also monstrous that the reed pipes 
should be a different pitch from the flue stops, which must be 
the case when the pitch rises in that way. If there is any 
way of furnishing the bellows with wind from the outside, 
so as to get a cool blast of air through the organ pipes, it 
might prevent that evil. I am not sufficiently conversant 
with these matters myself to know if this could be done, and 
I should like to have some information about it." 

Some authorities — including the late Henry Smart — 
consider it of great importance for the bellows to be 
always supplied with wind from the outer air, instead of 
pumping in the heated atmosphere usually found in 
churches. In an organ at Aix-la-Chappelle, there is an 
apparatus for cooling the air when necessary ; and at 
Stahlut there are contrivances for heating or cooling the 
air for the bellows. A scientific friend has suggested to 
me the use of a Tobin ventilator for the organ which shall 
communicate with the open air. The whole subject is such 
an important one to scientists, architects, organ builders, 
and organists, that it is a thousand pities it should not be 
thoroughly investigated with a view to providing some 


practical and efficient remedy, instead of leaving it in its 
present unsatisfactory condition. 

Finally, much, of course, depends on the construction of 
the church as to where the organ can be situated. All 
other things being equal, it should be placed on the floor 
of the church slightly raised in front of the people, and 
every effort should be made to enable the organist to be at 
some distance from his instrument instead of being close to 
it, and the choir as near the organist as possible. 

One word to church building committees in this con- 
nection. Beware of architects. Some of these gentlemen 
seem to have a supreme contempt for organs, judging from 
where they put or would like to put them. In some 
instances the place for the organ is their last thought — if 
it is a thought at all — consequently it is not surprising to 
find it stowed away in some hole and corner place in the 
church, instead of in a position only second to that of 
the pulpit. It should be distinctly understood that the 
organ is not a piece of ornamental furniture to fill up some 
recess, but a musical instrument. It should be thought of 
as an integral part of the worship of the church, and 
treated accordingly. Building committees should insist 
upon a good position for the organ in any plan that is sub- 
mitted to them, and they should make it a stringent condi- 
tion as to their acceptance of any design. By this means 
architects would be taught a salutary lesson which might 
be profitable to them, and which they so frequently need in 
connection with the position of the organ in churches. 

For interesting literature on the subject of the organ, 
its history, and its position, the student is referred to the 
following : — 

'•The Organ, its History and Construction," by E. F. 
Binibault and E. J. Hopkins (E. Cocks and Co., London); 
articles on " The Organ" in Stainer and Barrett's Dictionary 
(Xovello and Co.), in Grove's "Dictionary of Music and 
Musicians/' by E. J. Hopkins (Macmillan and Co.), in the 
" Encyclopaedia Britannica," ninth edition, by Professor 


Bosanquet (A. and C. Black); Dr. Stainer s "Organ Primer" 
(Novello); " On the position of organs in churches," by the 
Eev. Sir Frederick A. Gore-Ouseley, Bart, in the "Pro- 
ceedings of the Musical Association, 1885-6" (Stanley Lucas, 
Weber and Co., London); and the " Music of the Bible," 
by Dr. Stainer (Cassell and Co.) 

The following communication (received while these 

pages were in the press), dated Jan. 4th, 1887, from 

Mr. AV. J. Ions, organist of the Cathedral Church of 

St. Mcholas, ]S T ewcastle-on-Tyne, in reference to the 

mechanical blowing of his organ, and also in regard to the 

important matter of equalising the pitch throughout the 

instrument, will doubtless be read with interest. 

" We have just completed a new organ-blowing apparatus 
of a very important character ; we have now conquered every 
difficulty, and nothing could be more satisfactory than the 
way our engine and feeders work. The following is the 
result. Noise — there is none, not a sound is audible, the 
engine being placed in the further division of a stone crypt 
of great thickness of masonry with double doors. Smell — 
not the least gassy odour, perfectly pure air in the division 
of crypt where the feeders are placed, and air almost free 
from smell in the engine-room. In order to effect this, great 
care has been necessary. The ventilators (four) in the engine- 
room are large and of the very best description. The partition 
between the engine and the feeders is perfectly air-tight, 
even the moving lever having an air-tight slide to it. The 
fumes of the Otto gas engine are neither allowed to go into 
the open air nor get into the church, but are exhausted into a 
kind of pit filled with rubble stones and -ravel on the top ; 
while the little chimney over the touch jet has a conical 
receiver and tube to convey the slight fumes from it away 
outside. Our last difficulty was an obstinate one, viz. to 
prevent an audible overblow from the safety valve in the high 
pressure bellows up in the organ when the machinery was 
first set in motion. It was unpleasant to hear a rush of air 
just as the sermon -was about to close. That ran now be 
entirely prevented when, by hand, down in the engine-room, 
the throw-off gearing is operated upon, so all is quiet. I 
give signals to the engineman by electric bell by touching a 
button under the keyboard. Many of these contrivances have 
been tried for the first time. We have left no stone 
unturned for the sweets of success, and we are well rewarded 
for our patience. 


"In regard to that very important matter — the comparative 
pitch of flue and reed work when the cathedral is hot from gas 
andbreath of enormous congregations — I am again able to give 
a favourable account. The cool air brings the flue work very- 
much nearer the pitch of the reeds, and I can now couple 
the swell to great or choir, at times (evening) when formerly 
it was unbearable to any musical ear. There are in this cold 
supply of wind some variations caused by the weather, viz., 
dry and warm, moist and warm, dry and cold, moist and 
cold, &c, so the results are not always the same. During 
some fine weather lately we had the whole organ dead in tune 
for two or three evening services running, and I hope in the 
summer that it will always be so." 

[Messrs. Lewis and Co., Limited, are the builders of the 
organ and its blowing apparatus.] 




Okg ak" voluntaries for church use may be divided into 
two classes — soft and loud. The former are generally 
used as opening, offertory, and, sometimes, closing pieces ; 
the latter are usually played after the benediction as the 
congregation retire. The opening voluntary is sometimes 
an extemporaneous one. There can be no objection to 
this form of it when the organist really can extemporize ; 
but in ninety cases out of every hundred the extemporaneous 
performances of the average Nonconformist organist are 
simply execrable. Of melodic invention there is hardly 
a trace, and harmonic perspicuity is conspicuous by its 
absence. No wonder that sensitive ears are tortured when 
listening to a series of meandering, disconnected chords 
which are devoid of all inspiration, and faulty in their 
progressions. To be able to extemporize well is a precious 
gift which is not possessed by every musician. Even 
some eminent organists are indifferent extemporizers. 
Therefore, the "smaller fry" need not be disheartened 
if they are not largely endowed with this faculty. 
To those who desire to extemporize publicly, and who 
are unable to do so efficiently, I would most earnestly 
say — don't. Rather than distress your hearers with 
a number of musical platitudes, devoid of all form 
and beauty, play some piece which is the outcome of 


another man's mind, and which has the merit of mature 
thought and skilled musicianship. 

As an alternative to extemporaneous crudities I append 
a list (by no means exhaustive) of soft voluntaries of 
various lengths — all of which I have tested — which may- 
be of service to some of my readers. With a few excep- 
tions, all of them are legitimate organ pieces, having been 
written expressly for the instrument with pedal obbligato. 
Moreover, they have another recommendation — they are 
for the most part quite easy, and, with a little manage- 
ment, they can be effectively rendered on a two-manual 

[Except where otherwise stated, Messrs. Novello & Co. are 
the publishers.] 

Henry Smart Kate Westrop 

Voluntary in B flat Andantes in E flat (2) 

Andante grazioso in G n T -d 

n j. • -o a i. -o p -^ G-. J. Bennett 

Con moto m Jh flat, h , & D . ,, ,, . ~ 

Andantes tranquillo in G (2) . , & , . -p, 
a i i • -d a i. Andante m F 

Soprano melody m B flat 

Grazioso in F H. Hiles 

Evening Prayer Impromptu in G 

Andantes con moto in A 

Poco adagio in D 

Andante grazioso in F 

Prelude in A, and F S. S. Wesley 

Andante in F [Ashdoum) Andante in G 

Andante in D (Boosey) Q> R Grimths {C happeU) 

Con moto in B flat {Boosey) Andante pastor ale in E flat 

Mendelssohn. Adagio in E flat 

Slow movements (6) from Andantes in E, F, and B 

the organ sonatas edited by fl at# 

Spark (Ashdown). 

Prelude in G {op. 37). C. H. Lloyd 

B> Tours Allegretto in E 

Allegretto grazioso in D E. T. Chipp {Pitman) 
0. Dienel 24 sketches for the organ 

Andante in C, op. 13 Nos. 5, G, 8, 14, 22 

X. W. Gade 
Allegretto in C. 


G. Merkel E. Silas 

Pastorale in G, and D Melody in E minor, and C 
Adagio in F Andante in G minor (Ash- 
Allegretto in A down) 
Prelude in B flat, and G A. Guilmant fSchottJ 

E. J. Hopkins (Weehes) Communion in G 

Siciliano in G Melodie in A flat 

Allegretto in D T _. , _ , 

. , ° , . , . t, „ , J . Kinross ( Curioen) 

Andante piacevole m B flat . , . . v . n ' 

■w i \ t. -\ • a n j. Adagio in A flat 

Dolce canta bile in A flat , r °,. . „ 

a i a. 4. -u-i • -o Musette in F 
Andante cantabile in F 

"W. Eea (Augener) »*' * ^ 

Andante cantabile in F ... . ° _ . , , , 

t ii • -o a l (the above irom 24 sketche 

Larghetto in E flat „,-,-, . , .. 

-~. A & , for the harmonium, book 1.) 

F. Archer ' 

Andante in F J - K West 

Prelude in G Prelude in F, and A 

J. B. Calkin J- Lemmens (Schott) 

Allegretto religioso in C Communion in F 

For Holy Communion in G E. Bunnett 

Andante con moto in G Larghetto espressivo in 1) 

C. W. Pearce Air in C 

Four short and easy pieces, Larghetto in F 

set 1 Andante in D 

84 Pieces in all. 

From the above it will be seen that there is little need 
to go beyond the range of original organ music for soft 
voluntaries. In addition there are also available a large 
number of extracts frem the works of the great masters, 
known as " organ arrangements." Those by Best, from 
the composers' orchestral scores, are masterly and unsur- 
passable for minuteness of detail, but, for the most part, 
they are exceedingly difficult for ordinary players ; more- 
over, they require a large three-manual organ to do them 
justice. Other capable arrangers are Hopkins, Martin, 
Prout, Stainer, and Westbrook. Mr. Ebcnezer Prout's are 
model arrangements in that they preserve intact all the 
intentions of the composer as regards outline, without 


bristling- with superfluous difficulties. But however 
masterly all those arrangements, however comprehensive 
the instrument, however accomplished the player, these 
transcriptions can never realize on the organ the effects 
which are obtained from their legitimate interpreters. 
"Without condemning arrangements altogether — for many 
of them are excellent and should occasionally be performed 
— it is far better to let original pieces be the "bread and 
butter" of the soft voluntary for church purposes. 

The restriction as to the use of arrangements cannot 
be placed upon vocal solos from the oratorios — e.g., " 
rest in the Lord," " He was despised," &c. — as these 
gems of sacred music can be appropriately played as 
voluntaries, especially before a communion service. They 
are so well known to the majority of attendants at 
Divine service that their introduction will always give 
pleasure. Young organists, especially, should be careful 
as to playing pianoforte music on the organ. The genus of 
the household instrument — its tone, touch, sensibilities, 
&c. — is so very different from the organ, that to transfer 
its music to the "king of instruments" is, in many 
instances, merely to distort it. This also holds good — 
with very few exceptions — in regard to Mendelssohn's 
" Songs without words ; " in fact, Mendelssohn was so 
very particular about these special creations of his, that, 
in all probability, he would have protested against their 
being played on any other instrument than that for 
which they were written. 

In selecting and playing the opening voluntary, it must 
be borne in mind that it should be such music, and be so 
rendered, as to prepare the minds of the worshippers for 
that which is to follow, and not to disturb or distract 
them. It should be a medium for turning the thoughts 
from material to Diviner things. Therefore, all operatic 
and purely secular music, as well as all music which 


suggests other than sacred associations, should be most 
rigorously excluded. 

Organists should time their opening voluntaries so as to 
finish them when the minister is ready to commence the 
service. If the voluntary is commenced too late it may 
have to be curtailed, and thus lose much of its effective- 
ness ; on the other hand, the organist will have to tack on 
a few bars of his own to fill up the time, and this im- 
promptu coda, unless it is very well done, may spoil the 
entire piece. 

The opening voluntary should be in the same key as the 
first praise portion of the service, or in some related key. 

The outgoing, or closing voluntary, or postlude, is less 
restricted as to choice than that at the commencement of 
the service. Selected choruses by Handel, Haydn, Mozart, 
Beethoven, Spohr, Mendelssohn, and others, make excel- 
lent outgoing voluntaries. It is hardly necessary to men- 
tion the march, as it is so well — perhaps, too well — known. 
The good marches could almost be counted on one's fingers, 
but the bad ones would fill a long list, as every dabbler 
in composition writes — or tries to write — a march. Some 
of Bach's fugues make excellent voluntaries, but as they 
are " caviare to the general " they should not be too fre- 
quently introduced. However, the greatest fugue-writer 
should not be entirely neglected ; his matchless composi- 
tions should occasionally be heard, for to play them is only 
fulfilling a duty which all organists owe to the renowned 
Cantor. The six short preludes and fugues in volume viii 
of Peters's edition,* are interesting and easy to play ; the 
St. Ann's fugue is too well-known to need any recommen- 
dation. Enthusiastic admirers of Bach, who lament the 
non-appreciation of his works by the general public, may 
be interested in the following little story. Someone was 
was asked to define a. fugue. He replied, "A fugue is a 

* See also a new issue of Bach's organ works, edited by Bridge and Higgs, 


musical composition in which all the parts run away from 
each other, and the hearer from them all." Verbum sap. 

Other outgoing voluntaries are movements from 
Mendelssohn's six organ sonatas — good, solid stuff, though 
somewhat difficult — and postludes by Guilmant, Smart, 
Silas, Salome, and other modern composers. Dr. Spark's 
"Organist's Quarterly Journal" also furnishes some 
useful closing voluntaries. 

Organ music of the French school (with a few 
worthy exceptions) should be sparingly used. It is very 
seductive and easy to play, but much of it is too flippant 
and undevotional for English service-music, besides 
being too undignified for the majestic character of the 

In conclusion, I must enter a strong protest against the 
common habit of invariably using loud voluntaries at the 
close of the service. If the sermon has any significance 
at all, then some of the voluntaries which almost imme- 
diately follow it are simply outrageous. I am not alone 
in this opinion, as it is shared by so eminent an 
authority as Mr. Walter Parratt, organist of St. George's 
Chapel, Windsor, who said at the Carlisle Church Con- 
gress, 1884, "at the end of a solemn sermon, to hear 
elaborate pieces of fireworks let off upon the organ was 
scarcely calculated to have the effect desired by the 
preacher." Those who look at the subject in a proper 
light can hardly fail to agree with Mr. Parratt in his 
observation. Without doubt it is a great temptation to an 
organist, especially a young one (I have transgressed in 
this particular over and over again myself) to show off his 
instrument and his playing at this part of the service, but 
no amount of reasoning will destroy its inconsistency. 
To follow a sermon upon the Holy Spirit, or upon prayer 
with one of Batiste's pyrotechnics or the march from 
" Athalie," is to display the worst possible taste, and such 
a proceeding cannot be too strongly condemned. 


The organist should have a music cupboard within easy 
access of the organ, so that, if necessary, he can change 
the voluntary he has prepared ; failing this, he should 
have ready two or three pieces of various styles, one of 
which would be in keeping with the subject of the sermon. 
Better still for the minister to tell the organist the subject 
and character of his discourse beforehand, so as to avoid 
any incongruities in regard to the organ piece which so 
closely follows it. The organist who values his position 
as the " chief musician " of the church at which he offici- 
ates, cannot be too particular as to the selection of his 
voluntaries — both opening and closing ; for they should 
be consistent with all that precedes or follows them. All 
the music of the service is important, and although the 
closing voluntary is played during the egress of the con- 
gregation, there can be no excuse for making it the glori- 
fication of the organist and his instrument at the expense 
of destroying any good effect which has been produced 
upon the retiring worshippers. To quote a well-known 
authority — " the organist should rise to the spiritual 
importance of his duty, and seek to make his voluntaries 
harmonize with the spirit of the worshippers." 




[N.B. — Chapters IV and (especially) V should be read in 
connection with the following.] 

Okgax accompaniments to congregational singing are 
often looked upon as so much organ grinding. The sing- 
ing of an untrained body of people, it is said, is 
nothing more than a disagreeable noise (musically), therefore 
the organ should be unsparing]}- used in order to drown this 
cacophony. Artistic feeling and musical expression, being 
absent in the uncultivated voices of the people, should 
have no place in the organ accompaniment to the con- 
gregational song. Broad, massive effects are more to be 
desired than refinements of light and shade ; quantity of 
organ before quality, and so on. From all such theories I 
most thoroughly dissent. Music is an art, and whether 
one perfect voice sings or 2,000 imperfect voices are uplifted 
in praise, I hold that the accompaniments should not be 
robbed of one atom of their proper artistic functions. A 
cultured musician would doubtless prefer to accompany 
a well-trained choir than a miscellaneous multitude whose 
artistic temperament, taken collectively, is very low. 
But that is not the point. If a tiling is worth doing 
at all, it is worth doing well. Artistic feeling should 
manifest itself as much in playing a simple hymn tune as 
in accompanying one of the " queens of song." Accom- 


paniments to congregational singing need not be the hum- 
drum, hurdy-gurdy business that some imagine it to be. 
In competent hands it can be made exceedingly interesting 
and effective, and at the same time to satisfy the cultured 
musician. I shall endeavour to point out some methods 
whereby the use of judicious and varied accompaniments 
to congregational song may help to raise the service of 
praise from the dead level of monotonous dreariness into 
the region of emotional feeling and artistic expression. 

As a preliminary, it will be necessary to consider briefly 
the great change which has come over organ playing in 
recent years, and this in a great measure is traceable to 
the wonderful improvements which have been effected in 
the mechanical arrangements of the organ. The touch of 
the old instruments was very heavy and decidedly un- 
sympathetic. So great was its resistance to the finger 
that the key had literally to be pushed down, often with 
great pressure ; whereas now-a-days a pneumatic-touch 
organ is as light, often lighter than a grand piano, even 
when all the stops are drawn. Anyone going direct from 
an old organ with its antiquated mechanism to a modern 
specimen by one of our leading builders will readily 
appreciate the vast difference between the two instruments, 
one soon produces physical exhaustion and irritability, the 
other nothing but delightful pleasure. Although there is 
still room for improvement in lightening the touch of 
organs with tracker action, no one will deny that the 
modern mechanism is a vast improvement upon the old, 
and that it has had a very remarkable influence upon the 
style of present-day organ playing. 

The formula of the old school of organists seemed to be, 
' ' Place your hands on the keys and keep them there till 
you are obliged to lift them off," which in effect meant 
that no notice was to be taken of the natural musical 
phrases of a hymn, for instance, but that the player was 


to go straight on— very legato — to the end of the verse. 
Again, "When yon extemporize do so in the strict style, 
"be sure you put in plenty of suspensions and sequences, and, 
above all, do not fail to be contrapuntal." 

This was strikingly brought home to me by a visit which 
the late lamented James Turle paid to my church a few years 
before his death. I invited the venerable organist — he 
was then about seventy-five — to try the organ, built by Lewis 
in 1876. He extemporized upon the great diapasons in a 
masterly manner for some minutes, but I do not think he 
lifted his hands from the keys once during the whole time. 
Suspensions, sequences, and imitation were there in rich 
abundance, but of phrasing there was hardly any trace. 
He made no use of the solo stops, and concluded with a 
few chords on the full organ. At the close he said, " Ah ! 
this is more brilliant than I have been accustomed to." 
His style of playing was characteristic of a by-gone 
age ; and judging from his observation, he would probably, 
had he lived, have looked upon the rebuilding of his old 
organ at the Abbey as an act of vandalism. 

This leads to the consideration of a most important element 
in all artistic musical performances, in which is included 
modern organ-playing — a careful study of the art of 
phrasing. Rousseau (1712 — 1778), in his Dwtionnaire de 
Musique, defines it thus: — " The singer who feels what 
he sings, and duly marks the phrases and accents, is a 
man of taste. But he who can only give the values and 
intervals of the notes without the sense of the phrases, 
however accurate he may be, is a mere machine." This, 
of course, is equally applicable to instrumentalists. The 
pianist, for instance, "takes breath" by raising his hand, 
or hands from the keys. The vocalist marks the accent by 
singing one note with greater emphasis than another ; the 
pianist by extra pressure of his finger upon the key ; the 
violinist by increased bite of his bow upon the string ; 



the flautist by a stronger breath ; the drummer by a 
louder tap on his intrument, and so on. 

But a moment's thought will show that the organ is the 
only instrument upon which it is impossible to get accent 
by varied pressure of the finger or increase of breath. 
The organist has not the slightest regulating control over 
the wind which goes into the wind chest. Omitting the 
swell pedal — which does not effect the question of accent 
— the organ is far more expressionless in a rhythmical sense 
than the big drum, or even the triangle. Therefore, it is 
all the more necessary to give special and constant atten- 
tion to the only available means of marking the phrase 
sections upon the organ, and which can only be done by 
lifting the hands from the keys. I cannot too strongly 
impress upon my younger readers the importance of this 
principle. If they will always carefully follow it out 
they will acquire a lightness and elasticity in their play- 
ing which will invest it with a new charm, and which will 
be in strong contrast to the monotony resulting from invari- 
ably " gluing " the hands to the keys. One is a musicianly 
performance, emotional, artistic, and full of soul ; the 
other is a dreary mechanical business equal only to the 
efforts of a barrel-organ grinder. 

As an example in phrasing I take the following : — 
Ex.1. Andante grazioso. Written (melody only). H. Smart. 







Which should be played : — 

All educated musicians agree as to the importance of 
phrasing in artistically interpreting a musical composition. 
But if it is so desirable in solo or concerted playing, much 
more does it become an absolute necessity when the organ 
has to lead a number of untrained voices. The congrega- 
tion, taken collectively, seem to have not the slightest 
idea of natural phrasing, and rhythmical accent appears 
to be almost entirely absent in their vocal utterances. To 
judge from their singing they think it is perfectly right to 
take breath wherever they like, to endeavour to turn minims 
into crotchets, crotchets into minims, triple time into quad- 
ruple time, clip the dots from dotted notes, &c. &c, and all 
this without the slightest compunction. Nor docs this 
exhaust the musical outrages of which they are guilty. 



To say nothing of ignoring the first beat of the bar 
to secure natural accent, they prolong the final notes of 
the phrases instead of shortening them, and consequently 
are obliged to take breath at the initial note of the new 
phrase, whereby the rhythm is broken, and dragging 
ensues. As one of my correspondents has humorously 
remarked, "They hold on to their notes for the same 
reason as the boy does his toffee-stick, to make it last as 
long as possible." The organist, therefore, knowing the 
shortcomings of the congregation, should rather exaggerate 
his phrasing when accompanying hymns and anthems in 
which the people join. 

Example of phrasing applied to ordinary hymn tunes. 

Ex.2. St. Flavian. CM. Written (melody only). 

Day's Psalter, 1563. 





<?' o 1 <> 








t=fc*: = 



o o 





o o - 

I J 


~ o P>4- 







Ex. 3. From tune " Feniton Court," by E. J. Hopkins, to " Lead 
us, Heavenly Father, lead us." 

Written (melody only). 









-jz>— «j 







us, guide us, 





us, feed us, For we have, &c. 




Exainples 1 and 2 will show that it is not always 
necessary to raise both hands and to rest the feet. The 
withdrawal of the right hand alone, or of the melody 
note, or both hands while sustaining the pedal note, will 
often suffice, especially when the words necessitate a break 
in the middle of aline (Ex. 3), or when the last note of aphrase 
is a one-beat note (Ex. 2, 8th chord), &c. This modified 
form of marking the phrase sections prevents jerkiness 
or any approach to a chronic staccato, which is contrary to 
the spirit of good organ playing. 

These examples only broadly illustrate the prin- 
ciple of phrasing as applied to hymn-tunes. Study and 
experience will open up the way to its further develop- 
ment both in regard to solo playing and accompaniment. 
Its influence on the more efficient rendering of the service 
music generally can hardly be over-estimated. Although 
I shall give further illustrations of its application in 
hymn-singing later on, it is beyond the scope of this work 
to give minute details of the various kinds of phrasing. 
The subject is an intensely interesting one, and the 
student is advised to consult Lussy's " Musical Expres- 
sion" (2sovello); and especially the excellent article on 
"Phrasing" by Mr. Franklin Taylor in Grove's " Dic- 
tionary of Music and Musicians." 


Let me also strongly recommend plenty of pianoforte 
practice with special attention to phrasing. I have met with 
some organists who say that they do not play the piano, — 
the organ is their instrument. If any of my readers 
should give a similar reply I advise them to set to work 
at once at their pianoforte playing — real, earnest, careful 
study, and they will find it will greatly help them in 
getting good phrasing on the organ. I most strongly 
emphasize the good that results from listening to first-rate 
instrumentalists. To spend a few shillings in listening 
to the phrasing of Charles Halle, Joachim, Piatti, or any 
real artist-musician, is an excellent investment, and it 
will yield a better return if the hearer provides himself 
with the music performed and carefully marks his copies 
as the player proceeds. 

Having referred to the general principles of phrasing 
and its importance, it will he well to consider in detail the 
organ accompaniments to congregational hymn singing. 


The tune should he played over in strict time, and so 
distinctly that all may have a clear idea what the tune is 
to he. If it is at all unfamiliar the melody should he made 
very prominent. The following are some of the various 
methods in playing over the tune. 

1. To play the melody on one manual — using some 
solo stop, or stops, 8 and 16, or 8 and 4 ft., and the 
alto and tenor part softly on another manual, and the bass 
with a soft pedal stop. This plan has the advantage of 
bringing out the melody, but in the case of a familiar 
tune it is not always necessary, and it is apt to become 

2. To play the melody in the tenor octave (an octave 
below its written pitch.) The oboe or horn on the swell 
(if they are of good quality in this part of the register) 



accompanied by a dulciana on the great, or choir, are 
suitable for plaintive tunes. Examples "Rockingham," 
"Holley." The great open diapason, similarly treated, 
with swell accompaniment, is very effective for tunes with 
broad melodies. Examples: — " Leoni," "Stephanos" 
("Art thou weary?") 

3. The soprano and alto as a duet on one manual with 
soft accompaniment on the other (Ex. 4). If the alto notes 
do not always make good two-part harmony a note or two 
can be borrowed from the tenor. 

Ex. 4. St. Alkmund. 
Su\ Oboe. 

Ancient Melody. 

f— 2r^z 


3 1 





67. or Choir p. 





Soft ped. coupled to Gt. or Choir. 








^ ^ 




«— c 

-^Z^ -J- ' -J — d^g: 









-<S< — & 













-<5>- ^- 








''Carey's" and "Wells" may also be similarly 

4. Great diapasons (8ft.) uncoupled, but with, pedals 
coupled, playing in simple four-part harmony for broad, 
massive tunes of the " St. Ann's" and " Old Hundredth" 
type, also the German chorales. 

5. The full organ, though very occasionally. Exam- 
ines : — " Luther's Hymn" to " Great God, what do I see 
and hear?" " Ein' feste Burg," or " Worms" when sung 
to a hymn of the type of Luther's, "A safe stronghold 
our God is still " (translated by Carlyle). 

6. The full swell (closed) in extended chords by playing 
the right hand an octave higher, with pedals coupled. 
Examples: — "Regent Square," H. Smart, to " Glory be 
to God the Father:" "Deerhurst," J. Langran, to "Hark 
the sound of holy voices." 

7. Trumpet-stop (solo) in octaves (melody note and 
octave below), especially for martial tunes. Examples ; — 
"St. Gertrude" by Sullivan, to "Onward, Christian 
Soldiers ;" " Hanover." 

8. Great diapasons and 16ft. (manual) with pedals 
coupled, for slow, minor tunes. Examples: — "St. Mary," 

9. Swell diapasons, with or without pedals. Exam- 
ple : — " Bedhead No. 47," to " When our heads are bowed 
with woe," in which the pedal (soft 16ft.) can be intro- 
duced with good effect in bars 2, 4, 6, and 8 — the 
remaining bars without pedal. 



10. Tunes with repeats. Example: " Austria," or 
1 ' Hymu to the Emperor," by Haydn, to "Glorious things of 
thee are spoken," or "Praise the Lord! ye heavens, 
adore Him," furnishes a good example. First and second 
lines (of words), — solo clarionet, accompanied on soft 
swell; third and fourth (repetition of lines one and 
two) — on swell diapason, without pedals; fifth, — great 
diapason coupled to swell reeds, with pedal open diapason ; 
sixth, — gradually increase great, and open swell; seventh, 
— full organ (initial bass note A, on lower part of pedal 
board) ; eighth, — gradually reduce organ and conclude 
with soft 8ft. on great. 

11. Special tunes require special treatment. Two 
well-known ones will serve as illustrations. (Exs. 5 & 6.) 

Ex. 5. Vox Dilecti ("I heard the voice of Jesus say "). 

Rev. J. B. Dykes, Mus.D. 

It. R. Gt. 16 <£ Sft. soft, uncoupled. 



Open Dlap. only. 


rJ o —+- ri 

;:•-'- o o 


L. II. Siv. to 4 ft. 

Sic. to Sft. p 




-O-W-O- ' 




g-2 lld l 

E : =F 

Ped. soft IQft. coupled to Sw. 





r> ' 


1=2"! -&\^~&- "* 



¥4^L ^±=-% 








W^g g 


Soft Gt. coupled to 
Siv. both hands. 


in r i 






- itnrfs- 

G7. /o TVtf. 




r > q 


Gradually increase Gt. § Sw. cres 



* ' df '.t>4 \ '^>VK W ' 


^B : 


I i 




_*_ _e*_. 



Ex. 6. St. Aelred. Rev. J. B. Dykes, Mus.D. 

(?£. to mixtures (without reeds) coupled to full swell open. 

Fed. 16ft. _^_ +W 
coup, to Gt.\ 







Gt. soft 8 ft. 
coupled to Sw. 
Diaps. § Oboe. 




O ft &- 






Without Fed. 


Sw. Diaps. only. 







ft* ):, b ° - 



No Ted. 


Fed. soft 16ft. 
coupled to Sw. 

The tune should not be played over till the minister has 
completed all his announcement of it, as thereby the tune 
and its pitch is fresh in the ears of the choir and congre- 
gation. The choir having risen, no time should be lost 
in starting. The first melody note may be struck just 
before the other notes of the chord, as a signal for an 
immediate departure. Generally speaking this prelimin- 
ary note should only be necessary for the first verse 
and not for the remainder of the hymn. A similar 
advance-note on the pedals is not nearly so effective 
in securing a prompt " getting away together." The 
old-fashioned style of making the first melody note 
with the semitone below an acciaccatura is hideous, and 
should be consigned to the oblivion it deserves. 

Although the organ has to lead the voices it should not 
habitually overpower them. It should be an accompany- 
ing and sustaining instrument, liut there are times and 


places when the organ may legitimately assert its power 
by flooding the building with sound. Unless, however, 
this is done judiciously and sparingly it will lose all its 
effectiveness. The general rule should be not to use more 
power than is absolutely necessary, but to obtain plenty 
of variety in the accompaniments. If the loud stops are 
constantly used there is no reserve power for special and 
peculiar occasions. 

Therefore, be sparing with the reeds. They are excel- 
lent servants, but treacherous masters. Their occasional 
introduction is delicious (if they are good and in 
tune), but their ceaseless din becomes nauseous, and 
it vulgarises the playing. By all means let the diapason 
tone — the backbone of the organ — have the first con- 
sideration, but be careful not to destroy it by the constant 
blare of the reeds. For this reason the manual 
couplers should not always be drawn, as is frequently the 
case. It is a delightful relief to hear the great organ flue 
work alone without the swell reeds. The use of the 8ft. 
stops on the great — even the open diapason alone — in 
simple four-part harmony, and without pedals, is an enjoy- 
able change. Some organists couple the manuals together 
at the commencement of the service and keep them so to the 
end. This is a great mistake. Contrast and variety should 
be aimed at in the accompaniments, and monotony and ruts 
should be strenuously avoided. 

Great care is needed in the treatment of the pedal 
organ, both in regard to its judicious employment and in 
the progression of the bass part. As in the case of the 
reeds, a constant use of the pedals is undesirable. It 
affords a welcome change for them to be silent in one or 
more verses of a hymn. The entry of the pedal after a tem- 
porary cessation gives it new life, dignity, and power. 
Therefore, give your feet and the pedals an occasional 
rest, and thereby add further variety to your accompani- 

<>i;<;ax a ccompaxjmkxts. 209 

The progression of the bass part should not be altered 
except in special cases, principally cadences. The npper 
part of the pedal board should be more frequently used 
than it is. The constant boom of the lower notes becomes 
monotonous and irritating. A left-legged pedaller de- 
serves to be taken by his offending extremity and made to 
share the same fate as befel the gentleman in the nursery 
rhyme who neglected his devotions. Examples of pedal 

Ex. 7. Bass of the first two lines of St. George's (Elvey) as 

A B 







A may be pedalled an octave lower, thus : — 

w e . ===== 

But not B, as it would spoil the progression, e.g. 



Many other similar examples may easily be found. 

The swell pedal in accompanying, as well as in solo 
playing, should be used in strict moderation. It certainly 
detracts from the dignity of an organist when he turns his 
right leg into a species of pump-handle — for, in many 
cases, that is actually what it comes to. Xo part of the 
organ is more abused than the swell pedal. Dr. Stainer 
in his excellent "Organ Primer" (Xovello) relates the 
following story. 

" On one occasion I remember to have heard an organist 
performing on an instrument having a very prominent swell 
organ case with highly-decorated shutters. He was playing 
upon the choir organ with both hands, and without usin^ the 
pedals, but so strong was the force of habit, that his right 
leg was busily engaged working the swell pedal. The absurd 
effect can be imagined ; the tone remained level and passion- 
less to the ears of the hearers, while their eyes were annoyed 
by the meaningless ' gaping ' of the swell shutters." 



Dr. Stainer also gives the following useful advice as to 
the use of the swell pedal, which deserves to be "writ 
large," framed, and hung up above a good many organ desks. 

" Never use the swell pedal unless the proper expression 
of the music demands a crescendo or diminuendo" 

" Never sacrifice the proper performance of a pedal 
passage for the sake of using the swell pedal." 

"Be as careful of the way you let the pedal return up- 
wards as of the way you press it down." 

"Observe carefully the length of the passage marked 
crescendo, and do not get the swell fully open till the climax 
— unless you are prepared to carry on the crescendo by adding 

" The swell crescendo is the more effective, if not used too 

Mr. "Walter Parratt in Grove's " Dictionary of Music and 

Musicians" (article on "Treatment of the organ") says: — 

' ' The swell pedal is still treated too convulsively, and it 
should be remembered in putting it down that the first inch 
makes more difference than all the rest put together." 

The question of supplementing the voice parts — called 
" filling in," or "doubling" — opens up a wide subject. 
A whole chapter could be written on this one point alone, 
and then it would fail in its purpose unless the student 
had a thorough knowledge of harmony and the construc- 
tion of chords. When the four parts only are played 
there can be no fear of the organist's going wrong in this 
direction, but then unless the 16ft. manual stops are used, 
the chords will sound miserably thin. 

When the 16ft. manual stops — the "doubles" — are 
drawn great care is necessary in "filling in," especially in 
the left hand chords. Generally speaking, it is safer to 
play only the vocal parts. 

Ex. 8. Bad. 


With 16 ft. I 




.-* = 




/n//, 16//. ' , 






Mendelssohn is an excellent pattern to us in this matter- 
In the organ part of his oratorios he frequently directs 
the use of the "doubles " (niit. 16) and in these places it 
is not uncommon to find chords in four, sometimes three 
parts written in "close position," even in the fortes. See the 
organ part (in the full score, not the octavo copy) of 
"St. Paul" and the "Hymn of Praise," both of which 
are full of interesting and effective points. 

It is an agreeable change for a verse to be sung in 
unison with a varied accompaniment. Unless the organist 
is quite au fait in producing a different, at the same time 
correct, harmony on the spur of the moment he should 
prepare it beforehand and commit it to paper. To show 
how he may do it, I give (Ex. 9) the organ part (with a few 
necessary compressions) of the second verse of "Let all me 
praise the Lord " from Mendelssohn's " Hymn of Praise." 
The tune is the familiar " Xun Danket." I have kept to 
Mendelssohn's beautiful design in the last line, where the 
voices break into harmony with the simple accompaniment 
of the flute and basses (strings), the organ re-entering at 
the tonic chord. 

Ex. 9. Nun Danket. 
Voices in unison. 


Fed. 16//. | 



-fr- f- -J— ^ I ! ■ i t— p i 1 E^L q 


J ^ Lt^^z^ ^t^ P^I^S^ 




J7«fe orcfy S/V. 

i I 

* - 

-^ — ^ 


Without onion 





+ s r 

The following is set to Professor John Stuart Blackie's 
fine hymn, "Angels holy, high and lowly," by the late 
Henry Smart. The tune is first given in its original 
harmonized form, followed by a version with free har- 
monies by Dr. E. J. Hopkins, to show what may be done 
in the way of introducing suspensions and passing notes 
in the organ part. 



Ex. 10. Seraphim. Henry Smart. 

< Iriginal harmony for four voices. 

ii! i 



- o 







p p 

, • irff# 4-gr r g =g3i 

1 I I ■ I I 
W- I I ! 




r ri: 







o ^ 



p p 


i I 

I I 







I \ 






<2y- Lo-^-*-§-^ L«sz>-t 

£> ■ Q - 1 - Q Q 


- ,;* r 

»i Jg^- ! ^ 




I I 



I I 

The above with Organ harmonies by Dr. E. J. Hopkins. 
j. £ Vocal melody. 







» ft, ^ 

An - gels ho - ly, high and low - ly 
Iwth hands on Great. 


2. ^ 



• - • - .^ 

^ *: 

r^ -^- 



^^r^-p — ^ 

Pt(/. <0 ft'erf. ' 









Sing the prais - es of 

I I , J L 

the Lord ! 


-p — g?- 


I I 





■ W . r& H i 

I J 









Eartb. and sky, all liv 

na - ture, 

F #-£ 







i I 


1 1 



-P— *- 






Man, the stamp of thy Cre 






Praise ye, 



praise ye 

1 r 

God the 










See also Dr. Hopkins's setting of "Saviour, again to 
Thy dear name we raise" (Xovello\ 

The merest tyro knows that in organ playing a note 
common to two or more successive chords (the melody 
notes and the ends of phrases excepted) is not usually 
struck a second time, but held down, as follows : — 

Ex. 11. , I 




_"g- ^ IS" "gL 


Eut in tunes with reiterated chords, especially those in 
triple time, it is frequently necessary to play all the notes 
(except the pedal notes) slightly detached, as a check 
against dragging. Examples : — " Amelia,*' in quadruple 
time, and the following in triple rhythm. 


12. From " Hesperus." 

II. Baker, Mus.B. 

=2=g g g 


<o o r>- 



d q • 

* I * I -<S>- 




If the choir is strong in the soprano part, a nice rich 
effect may sometimes he obtained by transferring the 
melody-note to an inner part of the organ chords, and 
playing chords having their upper notes below the vocal 
melody (Ex. 13). 

Ex. 13. Ql T AM DlLECTA. 

Vocal melody. 

Bishop Jf.xxer. 



^-^sH -re— 




We love the place, O God, 


Gt.8ft. | ^| 
coupled to 
sic. reeds. | 



Wherein Thine honour dwells ; 


I I I 





Without pedal throughout. 


^ L 




The rule in regard to striking the initial melody note of 
each line is temporarily broken here, but the choir should be 
prepared for an accompaniment of this sort at the 

The use of pedal notes alone occasionally, coupled to some 
soft 8ft. manual stops, is an agreeable change, especially at 
a " pedal bass," but, as in the previous instance, the choir 
should be powerful, and their lead decisive and strong. 



The thought suggested by a single line or verse may be 
emphasized by employing a stop of pronounced quality. 
Examples: — "The trumpet sounds; the graves restore," 
in "Great God, what do I see and hear?" and "The 
silver trumpet calls" in"0 day of rest and gladness," 
using the great trumpet; "Fierce raged the tempest," 
using up to the great mixtures (without reeds). 

The full organ may be used for a similar purpose with 
good effect, even in a single word, e.g., "Let there be 
light !" in " Thou, whose Almighty word." Other exam- 
ples are, " All Thy works shall praise Thy name in earth, 
and sky, and sea" (complete line), in "Holy, holy, holy." 
The last five chords in the final verse of "All hail the 
power of Jesu's name!" if sung to "Miles' Lane." 
" Christian soldiers, onward go !" which is the last line of 
" Oft in sorrow, oft in woe." The following (Ex. 14) is an 
excellent specimen ; note the grand burst of the full organ 
at the word " majesty." 

Ex. H. 

Gt. 8 <$• Aft. to siv. reeds. 

W. G. Cusins 

Full organ. 









~ ! 

J J A 



jes - tv!&c. 


^•2 - 

No ped. 



Passages of vocal unison (really octaves) are generally less 
weighted if they are accompanied without the 16ft. pedal, 
as the pedal enters with greater freshness at the resumption 
of the harmony (Ex. 15). Sometimes, however, the 
pedal may be appropriately introduced at the last note of 
the unison phrase. 



Ex. 15. Wilt PPLUGBN. 



fegt r t t j ^=^ 


Without • 

I I 

'1 I 


^P^ ElEEg 

I L 


rB 7 









their Hight. 



No pcd. 


Ex. 1 

Sir A. Sullivan. 


1 I 

He is gone,- 




j A 


No }'vd. Ted. 

As examples of the way in which the accompaniment may 
be varied I give the following : — The first two (Exs. 1 8 & 1 9) 
are applicable when a verse is sung softly, and the new 
melody, made up from the inner parts, is played on a promi- 
nent solo stop (not the trumpet) while the accompaniment is 
taken on another manual. In arranging these " counter 
melodies " the student is warned against taking one particular 
part,^., the tenor, and making it the new melody, as very 
often an inner part maybe very tuneful for the first few notes 



but afterwards it may have one note several times repeated, 
which, of course, would not be very melodious. In such a 
case the alto, tenor, and occasionally, the soprano part 
should be drawn upon to supply the new melody. (X.1). — 
]Sot a single note of the vocal harmonies of the following- 

tunes has been altered. In Exs. 20, 21, 22, 


28, the vocal melody is given on the uppermost line as a 
guide to the voice parts, but of course, is not to be 
played) . 

Ex. 18. Eockixgham. Vocal harmonies from " Church Praise." 
i?. II. Solo stop. (Vocal melody in upper notes of L.H. part). 

It 3 


n .- 

o ° * 




L.H. Sw. to Odot .v 4// 

Fed. soft 16ft coupled to Sw. 


-G>- r 




7F=£ : ° 











j&} - ? ^ ^r^r ^ 


-o -<s< 

tea ~t» 










O -.o^ "P" 


*):. b P^ t^ 

^ > 



<5> ^ 

I ""H i 



Ex. 19. Capetown. (A. & M., 1G3.) German. 

li. II. Swell with Aft. # Oboe. 

^= ^ =^ 




^ ^ ^> 

L.H. Great Diapasons 8ft. uncoupled. 

^ <S ?^5 II^TT 



~ ■^- Q - 

r. - 

-<s> 1 







iW. 16/i., coupled to Swell. 





;3= 3=a= g 




-P- -e>- 




I I 

.*. .p. _e>- 


-^-^— ^ 








Example 20 introduces an "inverted pedal," or holding 
note in the upper part, while the voices sing on; the original 
harmony lias not been altered in the arrangement. 

Ex. 20. Newton Ferns 

Vocal melodv. 

Samuel Smith. 




Praise the heavens, adore Him, Praise TTim, angels in the height 



I I 


^^-^d - r^-J |JJ n 


Gt. both hands. 

I I ! 













"+— d" 

Sun and moon rejoice before Him ; Praise Him all ye si irs and light, 

Another excellent example of " holding notes " may be 
found in Sir Arthur Sullivan's popular tune ' ' St. Gertrude " 
(Church Hymns), to "Onward, Christian soldiers," where 
the harmony admits of one of the two principal trumpet 
notes, tonic or dominant (F, C), being held down 
throughout an entire verse. 

The next example (21) is Mr. Barnby's beautiful tune to 
" Jesus, my Lord, my God, my all," from the "Hymnary" 
and other collections, also published separately in the 
Musical Times. 



Ex. 21. 

Vocal melody. 

J. Baunhv. 


Je-sus,my Lord, my God, my all, Hear me, blest Saviour. 


Gt. f I ' | 
io^A hands. ! ! ! i 






I I 


Pfrf. fo ££. 







when I call; Hear me, & from Thy dwelling -place, Pour 




1 — r 



I I 

fS 1 — 


s — * — 













down the rich -es of Thy grace. Jesus my Lord, I 

i MT 


.Wo P«faJ. 

orgaxi ACCOirrAxnrnxTS. 









Thee a - dore ; let me love Thee more and more. 

R. IT. Solo stop uncoupled. 








• » ' II 
Voices only. 

J ! II 

Z. 7/. .V"-. to 6>£o£. 






Ex. 22. Hanover. 

Vocal melody. 

£oft P«*. to Sw, 




^ — <5>- 

Oh, worship the King, All glorious a - 

* _j_ L A . i _^Lj r i 



c ■ * 


I I 

ZWi Aawtfs on Great, 8 $ 4./V. 




-#- -©- 

-s»— P2- 




&— * 



Oh, grateful-ly sing His power and His love ! 
1 J ' I .-si 





I P=* 

^4 ft- 


-<s>- -©>- I 











Our Shield and De-fender, The An - cient of days, 

*|_i i , i J , J _ 'rri i 









-^- ^ -6>- 

1 I I I 









Pa - vil - ion'din ?plen-dour,And gird-ed with praise. 







I I M \^J 





The above are only specimens of what may be done to 
add variety to the accompaniments. Organists are, how- 
ever, cautioned against a too frequent use of these varia- 
tions, or they will lose much of their freshness. 

The natural pauses between the lines may be filled up 
by passing notes (Exs. 23, 24,), arpeggio (Ex. 25), 
or reiterated notes (Ex. 26, 27, 28). 



Ex. 23. From IIolley 

G. He 

& * p\8f*fig 

W - i> j fftfe^ 



' ; &c. 






Fed. 16/*. 
Ex. 24. From Adeste Fideles. 

^ (or in Sves.) 

to Beth - le - hem, 

Come, &c. 



i i 

Ex. 25. From Pilgkims. 

H. S: 




! I 


^ ri 








i — : o a 


An-gelsof Je-sus, an - gels of light, 







Ex. 26. From St. Gertrude. 
Gt. Trumpet. 

Sir A. Sullivan. 


i i 




jl> rJ -g^ZT ^-re 


>- -O- Q Q Q <^- -<S>- 

I I I J 

(Voices sustain.) Onward, Christian sol - diers. 
Jl V I J I I 


n_ ^LL 

[g-^g-^Tr^ — f^ 

Q C2_ 


> L ^ 



Ex. 27. St. Albinus. (A. & M., 1st tune.) Dr. Gauntlett. 
Last line only. rrs 






- 3 an 

*J -PP „„7J _ 



■ff rail 

tan - do. 




a i 




TT^/iow^ j»e^. 

Ex. 28. Easter Hymn. 
1st & 2nd lines. 

Henry Carey. 





Hal ----- - le 

n l_j i. 


l^^ S 

* st 

I mj«7A 8/y. »w/7.« 




•ff I with 8ft. reeds. 

Mvh^=m m 



With Fed. coupled 
3rd line 


4th line 




It is almost impossible to give definite directions as to 
registering, because organs vary so very much in size and 
stop nomenclature. The great thing is to avoid monotony, 
and to get contrasts in the accompaniments. Balance of 
tone and the charm of variety in organ playing may, to a very 
large extent, be acquired by listening to good orchestral 
performances. It is an excellent education for an organist, 
not that he is to attempt to imitate orchestral effects on his 
instrument — but simply that he may learn how to colour 
and diversify his accompaniments. 

There only remains to refer to unaccompaniment. An 
old German proverb says " Speech is human, silence is 
divine." Applying this to organ pipes, their temporary 
cessation for a verse, or even one or two lines, while the 
singing goes on, is a delightful relief. Great care is needed 
in its practical application when the congregation are 
singing. Atmospheric conditions and the necessity of a 
strong choir are important considerations. The greatest 
anxiety is whether the pitch will be sustained without the 
instrument. For this reason heavy, slow tunes, or hymns 
with long lines are scarcely suitable for unaccompanied 
singing, as are also tunes bristling with chomatic intervals 7 
and those in minor keys. But short metre, 6's, and 
similar short-line hymns (also common metres if not too 


slow) may be made very effective by some of the verses 
being sung without the organ. For example, Reinagle's 
" St. Peter " (in E or E, not E flat) to " How sweet the 
name of Jesus sounds." Eirst verse, organ ; second, 
without organ; third, organ; fourth, organ/*; fifth, with- 
out organ; sixth, organ, making a gradual crescendo to the 
end. The first two lines of some of the verses of " Let us 
with a gladsome mind" may be sung without the organ, 
which will enter with point at the refrain "For his mercies 
shall endure," &c. I sometimes drop the organ after the 
first verse of a hymn, i.e., if it has only a few verses, and 
allow the voices to go on and finish without accompani- 
ment; but I always take good care not to attempt this 
experiment on a raw cold day with an easterly wind, or 
unless I have a full attendance of my best voices. ^lore- 
over, familiar and noisy tunes of the "Miles' Lane " and 
"Hold the fort" type are not in my category of unac- 
companied strains. 


Much has already been said on this subject in pre- 
vious chapters (IV and V) in regard to expressive singing 
which is equally applicable to accompaniments. Following 
the excellent example set in "Hymns Ancient and Modern," 
it is now the custom to issue the new hymnals with 
expression marks. These indications of light and shade, 
if carefully made in the first instance, are an immense 
help towards securing more tasteful singing by both 
choir and congregation. But some recent books that 
have come under my notice have been somewhat over- 
done in this respect, especially in the direction of 
seizing upon some line or word regardless of its 
context, and I find that ministerial editors are re- 
sponsible for this false doctrine of expression. In thus 
divorcing an idea from its legitimate associations they 
follow the example of a certain cleric of the Common- 


wealth period. This eloquent divine preached a furious 
discourse against the current fashion of female hairdressing, 
and, with characteristic profundity, took for his text part 
of the 17th verse of the 24th chapter of St. Matthew's 
Gospel — " top not come down." Example of false and 
exaggerated expression in two recent hymnals — " How 
sweet the name of Jesus sounds," the last verse 
commencing "Till then I would Thy love proclaim" 
— is marked mf, or /, and the last line — ' ' Refresh 
my soul in n death" is marked dim. If there is any 
meaning in these words and their context, it is 
unnatural to sing them more softly. It seems to 
me that the soul's refreshment in death should be 
in rich abundance and not in diminished quantities, 
therefore, the passage ought to be sung with increased 
force to the end. 

Word painting should be very cautiously indulged in, and 
the colours laid on very gently, or the (musical) picture will 
be spoiled and become a daub. Tor example, take Lyte's 
hymn, "Abide with me." The last line is "In life, in 
death, Lord, abide with me," but to signal out "in 
death " to be played and sung very softly is to my mind the 
perversion of an idea. As in the former instance the context 
is "the abiding presence of the Lord,'' which is as much if 
not more needed in death as in life. Many other exam- 
ples could be given, but these well-known ones will 
serve as danger warnings against indiscriminate and 
senseless word painting. 


These are the chief thorns in the flesh of an organist 
of a congregational-singing church, and how they do 
prick! Is it possible to remove them? To some extent 
— yes. For example, if the congregation seem to be 
getting flat, put in the 16ft. manual stops, draw 
those of 4ft. and 2ft., and play the melody in octaves. 


Continue this till the pitch is righted. If the 
congregation are slow in responding, sustain the last 
chord of the tune at the end of a verse for three 
or four beats, making a longer pause than usual. This 
will be equivalent to the following message from the 
organist to the congregation: "You are singing very 
flat. Please endeavour to keep in tune. This is the 
pitch." This treatment is far more effective than using 
the reeds, and, in most cases it will be found to answer 
its purpose admirably. 

Dragging on the part of the congregation must be 
promptly checked. The organist should show that he, 
and not the congregation, regulates the speed. The 
simplest plan is to play a few chords staccato, and at the 
same time increase the organ tone, which, with the help of 
the choir lead, will prove an excellent fillip, and will 
generally have its effect. If this fails a stronger dose is 
necessary in the form of the full organ, which should be 
continued (two or three bars will generally suffice) till the 
sluggards are made to go on. The use of the full organ 
in this connection will be as a communication from the 
organ loft to the pew as follows : — " My dear people 
you are singing very slowly and apathetically. You really 
must not spoil the time in this manner. This is the speed. 
Now, please, come along." The full organ should only 
be used in extreme cases of dragging, or it will lose much 
of its potency. 

Chanting and Anthem Accompaniments. 
What has already been said in reference to accompani- 
ments to hymn-singing applies also to chanting. As the 
voices do not require to be so much supported as in hymn- 
singing there will be many opportunities for a lighter 
accompaniment, also the occasional use of the solo stops. 
The verses of the chant should run on with scarcely any pause, 


and the organist should not withdraw both hands and feet 
from the keys between the verses, except for special effects. 
The following are some of the various combinations for 
use in accompanying the chant. Great — 8 and 4 ft. (for 
the first verse of the Psalm and the Gloria Patri) ; 
diapasons uncoupled ; soft 8 and 4 ft. (flute), if the 
latter is not too soft. Swell — full, closed, with 16ft. 
pedal open diapason coupled ; reeds ; diapasons ; all the 
flue stops, including mixtures and 16 ft., without reeds, 
with box closed, which produces a weird effect. If there 
is a choir organ, the 8 and 4 ft. for chords, and other 
stops for solo work. The pedal should not be constantly 
used. Playing the melody as a solo on the great diapasons 
an octave lower than written is a delicious change. 
The thoughtful organist will readily find out how best 
to combine the stops for chanting accompaniments. Let 
me emphasize one important feature in the accompani- 
ment to chanting — z^accompaninient. 

The varied sentiments of the words of the Psalms — 
"joy and gladness," " sorrow and heaviness," praise, prayer, 
adoration, penitence, "joyful noise," "trumpets and 
shawms," " psaltery and harp," "the raging of the sea," 
" still waters," &c, open up a fine field for exercising the 
talents of a poetical and imaginative organist. There only 
remains to add one parting word of advice to the accom- 
paniment of the Psalms. Always " play skilfully," but 
not necessarily " with a loud noise." 

(See also Chapter VI. " Chanting" p. 87, et seq.J 

Anthexs that have no independent instrumental accom- 
paniment are like unto hymns and should be similarly treated. 
When there is no written introduction the organist may 
extemporize one from the leading theme or themes in the 
anthem, and work it into a prelude of four, eight, or sixteen 
bars. The introduction may close on the dominant, or on the 
chord with which the anthem commences. A Christmas 



anthem may appropriately have a part of the Pastoral 
Symphony (Handel) workedinto the prelude. If the organist 
doubts his powers at extemporizing introductions he should 
write them down. The following opening (Ex. 29) by Sir 
John Goss to Crotch's " Comfort, Lord, the soul of Thy 
servant " serves as an excellent model of a four-bar intro- 
duction to an anthem. jSTotice its melodic and sequential 
simplicity, and how beautifully it leads into the first 
vocal phrase of the anthem. The prelude to Gounod's 
" Ave Yerum " is also a good example. 
Ex. 29. 

r" — i — : — ; 

W4 - - 


&— t 


l ¥ 

t i 

do. dim. 

cres - cen 

"P 3 _ # • f 

Comfort, O Lord,&c. 



Some full anthems have a separate organ part, which 
will, of course, be played in accompanying the voices. 
]\Iany composers refrain from giving detailed directions as 
to registering, but leave it to the good taste and judgment 
of the organist to produce a sympathetic accompani- 
ment. In many instances it is well that they do so, 
for organs vary so much in stop nomenclature and in 
voicing, that what would be a proper balance between 
instrument and voices on one organ might be unsuitable on 
another. Moreover, the strength of the choir, the position 
of the organ, and the blending qualities of its stops should 
be carefully taken into account in registering. As in 
hymn tunes, it is well to remember that senza pedal is a 
welcome relief. Exs. : — Goss's " taste and see," with- 
holding the pedal (except the initial bass note) till the 
repeat of the opening theme in bar 21 ; and Sullivan's 
" love the Lord," without pedal from bars 36 to 49, 


when it will enter with fine effect at the return of the 
first subject with dominant harmony. Portions sung 
without accompaniment, especially passages of vocal unison, 
also make a pleasing contrast. Exs. : — Goss's "0 taste 
and see," ten bars from the end (the return of the first 
subject), to be without organ, resuming it at " Wessed is 
the man;" J. L. Hopkins's "Lift up your heads," the 
unison passages in bars seven and eighteen from the end 
("The Lord of Hosts") without organ, which will re-enter 
with point where the voices break into harmony. The 
late Dr. S. S. Wesley's fine anthem " Blessed be the God 
and Father" is a model specimen of organ registration, 
constructive design, melodic beauty, and depth of expres- 
sion, and is worthy the careful perusal of the student. 
It deserves to be widely known beyond the choirs of the 
Established Church, with whom it is a great favourite. 

Finally, the organist should not fail to carefully adapt 
his accompaniments to the varied sentiments expressed 
in the words that are sung. This is a most important 
and necessary consideration, and should on no account ever 
be neglected. Study, experience, and a highly cultivated 
taste allied with technical knowledge are most essential 
requisites, but to these combined qualifications should be 
added an earnest sympathy with the service music he is 
called upon to perform. His aim and endeavour should be 
to do his very best. He should set up for himself a very 
high standard of excellence, never forgetting the import- 
ance of his ministrations to the worshippers whose 
praises he leads, and always maintaining a consciousness 
of the dignity and responsibility attendant upon his exalted 

" The fineness which a hymn or psalm affords 
Is when the soul unto the lines accords" 



Accent in triple rhythms 76 

marks in chanting 96 

Accompaniment of anthems 231 

of chants 230 

of hymns 207 

Amen singing 78 

Anglican chants 89 

Anthems for Choir 109 

and congregation 109 

Antiphonal singing 63,78 

Arrangements froi n Oratorios ... 191 
Associations of Choirs 151 

Beatitudes 130 

" Bible Psalter," Troutbeck's 93, 107 

, Oakeley's ... "... 89, 108 

Boys' voices 30 

Cadences of chants 

Canticles sum:' to services or chants. 
" Cathedral Chant Book " ... 

' ' Cathedral Psalter " 

Change of rhythm 

Chant Book, separate from words 


, Accent marks 


of Te Deum 


without accompaniment 

Chant, musical form of 

.. 92 
.. 124 
... 108 
93, 98 
... 76 
... 104 
... 89 
... 96 
... 230 
... 98 
... 97 
... 102 
... 103 
... 127 
... 104 
... 103 
... 104 

Chants, Antiphonal singing of 

, Choice of 

, Uneven verses 

Children's hymns in ordinary ser- 
vices 65, 79, 83 

Choir, Absentees fined 27, 38 

, Absentees informing choir- 
master 37 

, Absentees sending deputies... 37 

, Admittance by music-reading 

test 22,32 

, Attractions, lessons, anthem- 
practice 24,51 

, Balance of parts 34 

, Boys or ladies 20 

, Committee and Officers 24, 35 

, Concerts to poor ... 39,51 


. 25 

Choir, Devotional spirit 

dispersed among congregation 64 

expression overpowered by 

congregation 58 

, Grant for purchase of music 38 

, Gratuity for picnic 23 

, Half-timers 37 

, Jealous of paid members ... 23 

, Meet in room before service 25, 50 

, Members balloted in . . . 25, 32 

, Members' fund 24 

, Minister's interest and help. . . 5 

, Notifying vacancies 32 

, Paid and voluntary members 23, 28 

, Paid from yearly collection ... 23 

Paid quartet 
Position of 

— -, Preparatory singing class 
— , Printed rules of 
— , Punctuality of . . 
— , Register of attendance 
-, Eelays, month on duty 

... 29 
... 171 

27, 31 

.. 50 
21, 36 
37, 64 

, Reserve members to fill va- 

, Selected from congregation 


Soprano leader 


, Special concerts 

, Talking during service ... 50 

, Voluntary members irregular 23 

Choirmaster, Confidence of office- 
bearers helps 18 

leading choir with his voice ... 15 

listening among congregation 15 

, Minister as 1 

, Programme for practices ... 43 

Qualifications 15,52 

, Reasons for combining office 

with organist 18 

, Relations with Organist ... 16 

Choir Practices, Accompaniment of 40, 42 
, Cancelled when choirmaster 

away 42 

for congregation 65 

in separate room 42 

, Instructions written in 

music books 43 

, Secular music ... 41, 51 

.Statistics 40 



Choir Practices, Variety of work de- 
sirable 45 

Choosing tunes for hymns 54 

Choral Festivals 151 

Church, Applause in 136 

Choral Society 66 

" Church Hymns " 73 

of Scotland Anthems 120 

" Church Praise " ... _ ... 84,120 

Church, Temperature in winter . . . 133 
' ' Clapton Park Psalter " ... 93, 107 

Concerts 138 

Congregation, Home practicings of 

hymns ... 85 

Congregation, Minister urging singing 4 
, Quantity and quality of sing- 
ing 59 

Congregational chanting 90 

' ' Congregational Anthems " 120 

Anthems and Collects " .120 

Church Music" Chants 

Psalmist," anthems 
— , Chants ... 

.. 107 

120, 130 

... 107 

... 72 

Congregational Psalmody practice 65, 81 

singing, aids for improving ... 86 

use of tune book 55 

Cost of Organ 163 

Deacons, support and sympathy from 8 
' ' Dictionary of Musical Terms " ... 108 

Diocesan Choral Festivals 151 

Dispersed choir among congregation 64 

Double bars in hymn tunes 74 

choirs 37,64 

Dragging the tune, &c 61, 81, 230 

" Easy Anthems" 120 

Elders, support and sympathy from. . . 8 

Elvey's" Psalter" 94,108 

Emphasized words 76 

Encores 137 

' ' English Church Composers " ... 129 
Expression in congregational singing 57 

marks 57,77 

in hymn-books 59 

of repeated or emphatic words 76 

Faults in singing 
Fixed tune system 
Flattening, Causes of 
, Removal of 

... 79 
... 229 

... 118 

German Protestant Church Music 

Gloria, Musical form of 98 

Grove's " Dictionary of Music." 

108, 201, 210 

1 ' Handbook of Anthems " 120 

Hopkins's " Collection of Chants "... 108 
Hymn and Tune Book in one. . . 53, 70 

"ilymnary" 73 

" II yiims Ancient and Modern " 44,54, 68 
Hymns and Tunes, monthly printed 

list 67,83 

fixed to one tune ... 53 

for children in church ... 65, 79, 83 


Hymns, Limited selectionby ministers 53 

, prepared list from minister 7, 83 

, Selection neglected till service 

time 56 

, Variety in selection 6 

Jackson's Te Deum 


Lectures on congregational singing. . . 85 
Leeds Festival Choir 34 

Metres of hymns 75 

Metrical hymns chanted 105 

Psalms S9, 105 

Minister as a vocal soloist 123 

selecting and printing hymns 68 

, Influence and duty in worship 

music 1 

, Number interested in the 

music 1 

Mission Services, solos 123 

Moody and Sankey pieces 57 

Musical Evenings 139 

Notation of hymn-tunes, minims or 

crotchets 72 

Office-bearers, Anti-musical influence 

, Support and sympathy from 

" Office of Praise , ' ' Anthems 

, Chants 93, 

Orchestral Accompaniments 

Organ Accompaniments 

, Chants and Anthems 

, Counter melodies 

, Doubling the parts 

, Emphatic phrases ... 217, 

, Expression 

•, General hints 

, Phrasing 

, Playing over the tune 

, Registering 

, Temporary cessation of ... 

, Vocal unison passages ... 

Organ, and its position 

blowing 170, 

, Cost of 


, Position of 

specification 164, 


Organ Recitals 

, Charge for admission 132, 

, Programmes 

Organist and Choirmaster 

, Skill in choir-training re- 

, Appointment of 

, Art of accompaniment 10, 

Organist, Course of training 

, Cure of flattening and drag- 

, Custodian of Organ 

, Incompetence of some in 


, Knowledge of liannony 














Organist, Loud playing ... 80,207 

, Playing tune over ...50, 73, 202 

, Pupils allowed to practise ... 14 

, Qualifications 10 

, Salary gauged by minister's 

stipend 13 

, Selection of voluntaries . . . 194 

, Special, for recitals 133 

Pauses at double-bars 75 

Position of Choir 171 

Position of Organ 171 

'• Presbyterian Psalter " 107 

Printed list of hymns and tunes 7, 67, S3 

Programmes 133 

Pronunciation 44 

" Psalmist," Anthems 120 

Psalmody Associations 66 

Psalter in Book of Common Prayer. . . 90 

used at Temple Church " ... 93 

Punctuation in Chanting 93 

Reciting notes of Chants ... 91,103 

Relief choir 37,64 

Repeated words, Expression of ... 76 

Responses 129 

Rests in hymn-tunes 76 

" Revised Psalter," by Rev. R. Mur- 
ray 93, 107, 130 

Rules for Chanting 97 

Sacred Concerts 138 

music, definition of 137 

Sankey's Solos, &c 57,122 


" Scripture Sentences and Chants"... 120 

Secidar music, definition of 137 

Separate tune-book 54 

Services of Song 145 

" Short Anthems " 120 

Singing Classes 27,31,83 

Social gathering of minister and 

choir 5, 38 

Solos at Sunday services 121 

in Anthems 123 

Special musical sen-ices 142 

Specification of Organ 164,167 

Speed in singing 73 

" Studies in Worship Music " ... 108 

Te Deum, Chanting of 98, 104 

Transposition 80 

Triple rhythms in hymn-tunes ... 75 
Tune books in congregations 55 

Unison services 129 

singing 64,77 

Voice training, Blending of voi( es ... 


, Enunciation 


, Phrasing 


, Precision and attack 


, Rhythm and accent 


, Sequences, discords, &c... 


, Singing from memory . . . 


, unaccompanied part-sing- 



Voluntaries, List of 







JkII Sljrlcs, j$kes, wis llmea. 

Illustrated Catalogues may be obtained of the Trade Manager 




SUNDAY SCHOOL UNION, 56, Old Bailey, E.C. 




And forming a Complete Companion to all the Hymn Books 

in ordinary use. 


London : Bristol : 


By ROYAL LETTERS PATENT, No. 12,071, granted Sept. 6th, 1884. 

M}t ffcfo ^ititfm'atii; §ptsk & §00li If 0lbxr 


This New Music Holdeh is so constructed that its action is perfectly noiseless — the 
act of turning the music causes the holder to move and resume its upright position 
at once, and secures the remaining leaves without assistance from the performer. 
Dr. Bridge, Organist of "Westminster Abbey, writes:— "The Automatic Music 

Holders which I have had fitted to the Abbey Organ Desk are admirable. I should 

have saved some pounds in music destroyed had I had them sooner." Can be attached 

to any music desk by the most unpractical. 



Manufacturers and Importers of every description of Musical 

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Suitable for Teachers and Students, Sfc. 


By J. S. Curwen. Price Is. ; post., l£d. 
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necessary information on the Tonic Sol-fa 

T. F. Harris, E.Sc, F.C.S. Price 4s. 6d. 

Postage 3d. 
A handbook for musical students. Con- 
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questions on each chapter, and an Appendix 
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By John Curwen. Sixth edition, with 
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The Text-book used for teaching Harmony 

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Curwen. Twenty-four chapters, pp. 128, 
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VOICE. By Emil Behxke. Price, 
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By his son, J. Spencer Curwen. Price 
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Curwen. Price 3s. 6d. ; postage, 3d. 
All the musical examples, of which there 
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CHOIRS. By E. Minshall. Price 
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CAL TERMS. By Arnold Ken- 
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Includes about 2,700 terms. The phonetic 
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SOLO SINGER, THE. By Sinclair 
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Edited by John S. Curwen. Cloth, limp, 

Is. 6d. ; postage, Id. 
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John Curwen. Eighth Edition of the 
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Lessons and Exercises on the Tonic Sol-fa 
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1st Series. By J. S. Curwen. Price 

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Contains articles and information on 
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By Geo. Oakey, Mus. B. Price Is. ; 

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Geo. Oakey, Mus.B. Second Edition, 
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ELEMENTS. By Geo. Oakey, 
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Musical Tableaux for Schools and 

Families.— Autumn's Queen, May Festi- 
val, Glad New Year, Christmas Party. 
Music with Pianoforte Accompaniment in 
O.N., with Voice Parts in Sol-fa. Price 4d. 

Twenty Popular Cantatas, Sacred 
and Secular, of various styles and grades of 

Twenty School Cantatas and 
Operettas, for Elementary Schools, 
Ladies' Schools, and High Schools. 

Choruses for Equal Voices, separate 
editions, O.N., l£d. to 6d. ; Sol-fa, Id. and 
l£d. Parts I and II (32 numbers each), 
Staff, 5s. ; Tonic Sol-fa, 2s. 6d. each. 

Congregational Anthems, First to 
Fourth Series, containing altogether nearly 
400 popular Anthems. Price 2s. 6d. per vol. 

Easy Anthems, price Is. These are as 
easy as hymn-tunes ; any congregation can 
sing them. 

Short Anthems, price Is. Of a high 
class, yet not difficult. 

Choral Leaflets, O.N. on one s ide, Sol-fa 
on the other. Price Id. each ; 50 for 2s. 6d. ; 
assorted, 3s. 6d. Parti (1-32), II (33-64), 
Is. each. 

Anthem Leaflets. Two separate editions, 
Staff and Tonic Sol-fa. Each, Is. 6d. per 
100 ; assorted, 2s. ; single copies, £d. Part 
I (1-32), 6d. 

Sacred Music Leaflets, Staff Notation 
on one side and Tonic Sol-fa on the other. 
For Sunday Schools, &c. Price Is. per 100 ; 
224 Numbers ; or in Seven Parts, each 6d. 

School Music Leaflets, hi same style as 
Sacred Music Leaflets. 160 Numbers; or 
in Five Parts, each 6d. 

Temperance Music Leaflets, in same 
style as School and Sacred Leaflets. 160 
Numbers ; or in Five Parts, each 6d. 

Temperance Choruses, O.N. on one 
side, Sol-fa on the other. Price Id. each ; 50 
for 2s. 6d. ; assorted, 3s. 6d. Parti (1-32), Is. 

Nine Temperance Cantatas and 
Stories with Song. In various styles. 

Sacred Quartets : Settings of popular 
hymns for Solo, with Accompaniment and 
Chorus, in Staff Notation ; Voice Parts in 
Sol-fa also. 96 numbers ready, l£d. each. 
Vol. I & n, price 4s. each. 

German Two-Part Songs, for School 
or Home use. Sol-fa, Series I, II, m, 4d. 
each ; O.N., Series I, LT, 6d. each. Piano- 
forte edition (O.N.), Series I & II, 2s. 6d. ea. 

Musical Theory, price 3s. 6d. All ex- 
amples in both notations. Also in Parts. 

How to Observe Harmony. Full of 
examples of chords and explanations. All 
music in both notations. 2s. 

Graded Rounds and Catches, price 
3d., either notation. Easy pieces. 

The Temperance Vocalist : Songs 
with Pianoforte Accompaniment, containing 
Temperance teaching. In Staff Notation ; 
the Voice Parts also in Sol-fa. 90 numbers 
ready, price 3d. each. 

Elementary and Intermediate 
Rhythms, and Minor Mode 
Phrases, for systematic practice. Staff, 
l£d. each ; Tonic Sol-fa, £d. each. 

The Choral Singer. A Course in Sight- 
singing for beginners. Staff, Is. ; Sol-fa, 6d. 

Modern Part-Songs. A Series con- 
taining over 200 numbers, being Part-songs 
by all the chief modern composers. Every 
piece may also be had in Staff Notation. 
Price Id. and l^d. 

Modern Anthems (Tonic Sol-fa). All 
by leading composers. Numbers, l£d. each. 
Every anthem also to be had in Staff Nota- 

The Chorister's Album. Fifty numbers 
are published in Tonic Sol-fa, at Id. each, 
corresponding exactly with the O.N. editions 
of Messrs. Novello. 

Christmas Music Leaflets, in both 
notations. Id. each, or 50 for 2s. 6d. ; 
assorted, 3s. 6d. 

Proudman's Voice Exercises, in 

Staff, 3s. ; in Tonic Sol-fa, 2s. 

Solo Singer's Vade Mecum. By 
Sinclair Dunn. Both Notations, Is. 

Oakey's Counterpoint: all examples 
and exercises in both notations, Is. 

Oakey's Harmony: all examples and 
exercises in both notations, 3s. 

Apollo Club and Apollo Leaflets: 

Part-songs for Men's Voices in Staff Nota- 
tion. Also to be had in Tonic Sol-fa. 

Blue Ribbon Songs, Parts I and H, 6<L 
each, in either notation.